Racism & Cultural Bias

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Changing company culture

Written by Megan McNair Mascarello

The recent deaths of Black Americans—George Floyd, Breona Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery—coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. economic crisis, have exposed serious defects in our country. Aspects like a lack of access to affordable healthcare, higher levels of unemployment, lower wages, the racial wealth gap, and unequal access to quality education have created barriers to the well-being of Black Americans.

Many U.S.-based corporations are making public statements addressing racism, but real change comes from action. Tivian challenges you to take the next step. CEOs and business leaders must start addressing the cultural bias that exists in all organizations. Today, there are only four African American CEOs in the Fortune 500, so their white counterparts must lead this effort. Those executives that step up and drive these cultural initiatives could profit both socially and economically.

Human beings always have biases. Organizations also have biases that exist in their cultures. Many of these individual and organizational biases are outside of awareness. Surprisingly, much of the organizational cultural bias is easier to access and easier to change than are individual biases. Corporate biases are easier to discover, but they are still a challenge to influence.

CEOs and business leaders must take forward action by focusing on their own companies and addressing the cultural, usually unconscious, bias that exists in all organizations. At Tivian, we’ve worked for years to help executives surface, identify, and measure unconscious biases within their organizations. Our solutions provide data-driven suggestions based on the data collected, how to deal with the issue, and truly create a nurturing and equal workplace. Unfortunately, our experience is that far too many CEOs are unwilling to face the problems and deal with issues to create a better company.

According to a recent Forbes article, less than 40% of companies are transparent about their workforce’s gender and racial makeup—which is an indication they have something to hide. Therefore, it is crucial to review the representation of Black employees and ensure that Black workers are represented across all levels of your business—and that workers are receiving equal pay. After this review is complete, SHARE THE RESULTS.

Tivian grew successfully in the experience management business using quality approaches with a unique commitment to service – and transformation. Our CEO Frank Møllerop wasn’t satisfied with the results. We saw greater possibilities in communication than the possibilities of accepted industry standards. What we saw as missing was new methods of engagement with all who used the results from the data. We believe that data collection, done right, can transform an organization and all who work in it.

Our new approach engages people in continuous thinking and idea generation, which results in effective communication and engagement – based on being data & action-driven.

The turbulent times we are in cannot be transformed by a public outcry, not even if from leaders of organizations and politics—not even if honestly felt. Certainly not without action. Organizational leaders need to put their ideas into action supported from the top down. We all are familiar with the saying, “people don’t do as you say; they do as you do”. This is not a “one-off” but a way to create an inclusive workplace with measurable standards.