In order to mitigate unconscious bias, each management system must be examined.  There are four phases to this work:

      1. Create a flow chart identifying each step in the process (recruiting, evaluating, promoting, assigning projects, mentoring).

      2. At each step in the management process, identify how bias could be, or is currently, taking place.

      3. Make changes in the process wherever bias is present.

      4. Monitor each node in the process, over time, to determine whether bias is occurring.

This process is known as Power Point Mapping.  A deliberate search for bias is necessary simply because it is impossible to design any management system that does not require discretionary judgments on the part of those administering the system.  If bias exists in those administering the system there must be a counterbalancing mechanism that will catch the biased actions and make necessary changes to eliminate its action.   It is a necessary step that the company must take if it is to root out the ways past bias is woven into current management systems.  Once the necessary changes have been completed, the Power Point Map provides a set of “gauges” that enable leaders to monitor each node and identify new occasions of bias.  The following is an example of using such a map to examine and revise the  recruiting system in an organization.

 

Recruiting – Step 1: Create Job Descriptions

  • Current Bias or Deficit: There is an implicit profile of who is successful in this role. Whites, who created the job description, may not realize the extent to which that profile was skewed toward whites.  Whites, who inherit the current job description, may not realize that it contains a profile that is skewed toward white cultural norms and behaviors.

Revised policy: Job descriptions will be written and  reviewed annually by members of different racial groups, in order to eliminate biases in the job descriptions. 

Step 2: Advertise Position In-House

  • Current Bias or Deficit: Not all members of the organization have equal knowledge of openings in the position, or access to where the notice is published in-house.

Revised policy: (1) New policy requires that all job postings be visible and accessible to all employees; (2) An annual survey is conducted with employees from all racial groups to track whether all racial groups have seen the job posting.

  • Current Bias or Deficit:: Whites in charge of advertising have limited connection to informal networks of more racially diverse candidates within the organization

Revised policy: Staff assigned to key positions involved with recruitment and hiring, must demonstrate a proven level of proficiency in relating to all racial groups that exist within the company.  When that proficiency does not exist in the company, consultants must be retained to provide it until staff have been sufficiently trained.

Step 3: Advertise Position Externally in Formal Media

  • Current Bias or Deficit: White organizational leaders and decision makers have limited knowledge about formal media that reaches different racial communities.

Revised policy: New policy stipulates that media coverage must extend beyond dominant group media to include media used by other racial groups.  Initially, consultants who have such information, must be retained to infuse that knowledge into the recruiting staff.

  • Current Bias or Deficit: Decision makers have little, or dated, information about the organization’s reputation among different racial groups.

Revised policy: Decision makers conduct annual review data about the organization’s reputation in each racial community.  Initially, an outside firm must be retained to survey how the organization is viewed in different communities of color.

Step 4: Advertise Position Externally via Informal Contacts

  • Current Bias or Deficit: Staff members in charge of advertising are not required to stipulate re their assumptions about how to advertise in networks used by candidates from other racial groups.

Revised policy: The group doing the advertising must now include members from different racial groups (either from within the organization or outside of it) on advertising task force.

  • Current Bias or Deficit: Decision makers have limited contacts with networks of other racial groups.

Revised policy: Advertising team is now required to develop relationships with people of influence in other communities of color.  Key venues in those communities (e.g., hair salons, nail salons, houses of worship, social clubs)must be identified as points from which to spread the word about job openings.  The recruiting department is now required to develop relationships with BIPOC professional associations (e.g., Black accountants, Historical Black Colleges and Universities, Latinx engineers, etc.)

  • Current Bias or Deficit: Decision makers are not aware of how the organization is currently viewed by potential candidates from other racial groups.

 Revised policy: New policy stipulates that the group doing the advertising, must contract with an outside firm to survey annually how the organization is viewed in different communities of color.

 

Step 5: Screen Resumes

  • Current Bias or Deficit: White personnel are unaware of their subtle attitudes and presumptions toward other racial groups (“These candidates wouldn’t want to move here,” etc.). These untested assumptions influence how they rate resumes from BIPOC candidates.

  • Current Bias or Deficit: There is probably an implicit profile of who is successful in this role. Whites may not realize the extent to which that profile is skewed toward white cultural norms.=

  • Current Bias or Deficit: There is limited institutional memory about different approaches to handling the role, beyond that of an approach that fits white cultural norms.

Revised policy: New policy stipulates that those reviewing resumes must be diverse by race and have background in cross-cultural communication.

Revised policy: All  members of a screening committee are surveyed annually to identify how well they felt their ideas and contributions were received among the screening team.

Revised policy: Department leaders must provide data, on a quarterly basis, on the number of white resumes that resulted in interviews versus the number of BIPOC resumes that resulted in interviews.

 

Step 6: Conduct Interviews and Make Hiring Decision

  • Current Bias or Deficit: An interview panel that is made of solely of members from one or two racial groups will tend to view candidates through one or two cultural lenses. The interview team will default to selecting candidates with whom they feel “comfortable,”  e., those whose style of speaking and acting most fits the cultural norms of the interview panel members

Revised policy: Interview panels must now be diverse racially.

Revised policy: All  members of a screening committee are surveyed annually to identify how well they felt their ideas and contributions were received among the screening team.

Revised policy: Department leaders must provide data, on a quarterly basis, on the number of white candidates who are hired versus the number of BIPOC candidates who are hired.

 

Step 7: Successfully Integrate the New Hire into the Work Unit

  • Current Bias or Deficit: Managers and the staff in their department have limited experience, or comfort, forming mutually satisfying work relationships with members of other racial groups. Their default behavior is to maintain social distance and not extend themselves to form relationships.

  • Current Bias or Deficit: Whites are unaware of company norms that are incompatible with the cultural norms of the new hire. Their default behavior is to judge as less valuable, or even inappropriate,  behaviors that do not fit the white cultural norms.  This creates an atmosphere where BIPOC employees do not feel valued or included.

Revised policy: Managers in each work unit must now provide report on how often newly hired whites are successfully integrated into their work unit versus how often newly hired BIPOC are successfully integrated into their work unit.

Someone might say that this is a lot of record keeping, and it will be expensive.  That is true to some extent.  However, anything that we value in business, we measure.  Corporations carefully measure costs, and profits as well as data on promptness of deliveries, customer satisfaction, and accuracy of inventory schedules.   We do this because you have to measure something in order to manage it.  You have to see the extent to which the process is occurring in the desired manner.  Any deviations then become “problems” to be rectified.

The same is true if we want to be sure that BIPOC employees experience the same level of opportunity that white employees experience.  In part III of this series, I will describe the last component of this measurement system, a Score Card.  The Score Card enables leaders to see how well managers at every level of the organization are ensuring equity among all racial groups.  The Score Card also becomes part of the performance evaluation of all managers.

** I am indebted to my EYCA colleague Patti Wilson for the concept and process of Power Point Mapping