One of the most fascinating recent developments in our Unconscious Bias work is our Live Bias Reviews. This is where our clients invite us to join a live meeting or discussion which may be prone to bias - for example a moderation meeting, a promotion panel discussion, or a recruitment day. As bias specialists, we join the meeting with the four key objectives of identifying:
- Whether any bias is affecting the decision
- Which types of bias are evident in the discussion
- What would remedy or address the identified biases
- Whether there are any wider factors that are exacerbating the bias
Having completed a live review, we are then able to provide evidence and feedback to our clients about the biases that are in reality affecting their decisions and the objectivity of these processes. We are also able to provide feedback to those individuals in the meeting demonstrating the bias.
Occasionally we still observe some fairly obvious examples of bias - “She’s previously worked long hours, but she won’t be doing any more long hours now that she’s a mother, and the bonus is all about rewarding long hours”.
But the vast majority of biases we witness are more subtle and cumulative in nature. Agentic stereotyping, for example, is very much alive and kicking in our organisations. This often shows itself in questioning the confidence of female employees to take on more senior roles: “She needs to put herself in the spotlight more”; “I don’t know her terribly well, but I question her confidence”; “Would we have to drag her along all the time? I’m not sure she’s got the confidence to push herself forward.” When questions of confidence are being raised for more than 70% of the women in line for promotion, as they were for one of our clients, it’s clear that a lazy form of stereotyping is having a detrimental impact.
Old favourites, such as the importance of advocacy and sponsorship in the room, also become very apparent during live bias reviews – “I don’t think anyone in the room really knows Shilpa. Is anyone able to comment? No? India is a nightmare office. I think she’ll understand a (below average) grade.”
Our live reviews provide invaluable, live data for our clients that equip them with real time evidence. We have found them to play a critical role in helping individuals to recognise when they are personally letting their biases affect them. Critically of course, these reviews also provide very specific and bespoke recommendations and feedback regarding what needs to change in order to remove the element of bias from key people decisions.Watch a short video with Nic Hammarling introducing Live Bias reviews
Click here to ask Nic a question about our Live Bias Reviews.