Discrimination in the workplace – Getting to the Heart of the Matter
Let’s get straight to heart of the matter
Why so glum, it’s all on a platter
What’s the matter, what’s the matter today?
(Libertines – Heart of the Matter)
Let’s not beat around the bush. The time to stand up and be counted is long, long overdue. There are far too many ostriches* ,elephants* and emperors* filling our air and cyberspace with self-serving bulls*&t. Too much hiding behind vacuous strategies that serve only to cover up the problem rather than tackling it head on.
The fact is, some people deliberately discriminate – a behaviour itself hidden behind the moniker of ‘conscious bias’. And until now we’ve made excuses for them by providing mechanisms that allow this behaviour to continue. There. I’ve said it. Best I propose a solution then or I’m no better than those I have berated.
First let’s remind ourselves what has been tried in the valiant battle to defeat discrimination:
1) We’ve anonymised CVs – great. In my mind, that simply delays the discrimination a few stages down the process when Balvi, Aleksander or Kwame signs in to the assessment day.
2) We’ve removed dates of birth – wonderful. That also merely delays the discrimination to when Mr or Mrs Crusty is spotted in reception and the recruiter’s mind is made up before a discussion relating to suitability is even started.
3) We’ve deleted any reference to gender – perfect. Who’s going to notice if a candidate is male or female when they join the video interview or turn up at the office? Possibly the bore of a hiring manager who believes ‘girls just aren’t cut out for this particular job’.
4) And we’ve cleverly removed photos and any reference to ethnicity – groundbreaking. So what happens when ‘Johnny Foreigner’ walks into the interview room and your resident ‘Billy Britain’ clocks a look at his prospective candidate?
Bigot says ‘No’.
We haven’t solved the problem, we’ve just shifted it elsewhere in the process and given the blinkered decision maker the power to decide based on his or her rabidly unacceptable beliefs and opinions.
So what to do?
- Admit we have a problem and acknowledge that discrimination happens and we need to fix it.
- Agree it is unacceptable and that, regardless of background, circumstance or situation, ALL candidates deserve a chance to be considered on their merits and not be judged and selected based on their label.
- Put in place a robust and enforceable way to call out and STOP discrimination. Period. Sort it at its heart so it ceases to be a ‘thing’.
What would work?
Start by being proud of who we are, where we are from and what makes us unique.
Rally around as a collective voice and opt NOT to hide our ethnicity, gender, age or any other characteristic that ‘betrays’ who we are and be confident that we (the world) CAN and WILL view people and talent differently – if we create enough of a groundswell of smarter, more reasonable and more effective thinking about talent, we can shift the mind-set to where it must be.
With that premise in place the opportunity to stand above and beyond a label becomes achievable as the filter of discrimination no longer clouds the vision and the assessment of talent.
As for the solution – Naturally Talented Me has championed and embraced this thinking with the inclusion of ‘ethnicity’ as an optional field in its free profile building platform.(www.naturallytalentedme.com). The platform positively celebrates the openness of who we are and what makes every one of us unique by actively encouraging the addition of photos, age and ethnicity.
We believe the alignment of natural talents associated with hobbies and interests and employability attributes required by employers has sod all to do with where you come from, how old you are or what gender you are. It just shouldn’t EVER be a factor. And we are basing our whole model on that belief.
So… through platforms such as Naturally Talented Me, ANYONE, regardless of background, circumstance or situation, can present their natural talents to an employer base that is open minded, modern and label agnostic. We simply won’t deal with any employer that doesn’t have that shared view.
And if an individual who is perfectly matched to the natural talents required, and has effectively and compellingly evidenced these through images, video and supporting documentation, subsequently gets overlooked or ‘rejected’… it will be possible to investigate any systemic behaviours and correlation with protected characteristics.
If that decision turns out to indicate ‘conscious bias’, or even the apparently less heinous ‘subconscious bias’, then we have a tool to support a challenge that must be raised as loudly, visibly and proudly as possible.
If you agree with this stance and support our vision to remove the label from recruitment, help us get to the heart of the matter and spread the word that Talent trumps bigotry. You could even support our crowdfunding to help build awareness here: https://natwestbackherbusiness.co.uk/from-natural-talents-comes-wider-career-opportunities/backers#start
*Ostriches: Burying head in sand
*Elephants: Elephant in the room
*Emperors: Emperor’s new clothes