W2 Issues/Concerns


Blog

Check out our weekly blog posts and see the latest news and discussions happening in the HR world of business.

Bias, the Billion Dollar Problem

Bias is something everyone has but won’t admit to it. Whether we realize we are doing it or its unconscious, bias can cost your business.

Bias can cost you customers and impact your employees by burning them out, driving them away or causing them to act out.

Disengagement that is the result of bias costs companies $450 to $550 billion per year in productivity and creativity. These disengaged individuals are also likely to walk out the door.

Bias can also damage your business’s reputation, as we recently saw with Starbucks after a flood of bad publicity stemming from the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia outpost of the popular coffee shop. According to sources, the men, who were waiting for a business meeting, asked to use the restroom but had not made a purchase. When they were asked to leave, they refused, prompting a store associate to call emergency services.

“While this is not [a problem] limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO. “Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

The coffee giant recently announced that it will shut 8,000 of its company-owned stores in the US and its corporate headquarters on the afternoon of May 29th to host a company-wide diversity training workshop.

Starbucks has stated that its bias training will address “implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, [and] prevent discrimination.” Already, however, it seems that Starbucks has realized it might have grossly underestimated how much work lies ahead. Initially, the coffee brand stated that training would take place across an afternoon but suggests this is the first step in a multi-faceted approach to addressing bias. So, what lies ahead for the company?

In the interim, the coffee purveyor has “launched a review of its training and practices to make important reforms where necessary to ensure our stores always represent our mission and values, by providing a safe and inclusive environment for our customers and partners,” the company said in a statement.

The most effective training must examine how people make decisions, according to Howard Ross, founder of the Cook Ross business management consulting firm and author of Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives, in an article published on the Society for Human Resources (SHRM) blog. As such, he notes that a comprehensive training program should include:

  • What is bias, and how is it impacting us?
  • How does bias show up in human behavior, in the decisions we make and how we treat people?
  • How do we mitigate that behavior?

However, even he noted that “the training is a beginning. It can bring awareness and point people in the right direction, but training by itself will rarely have any long-term impact” unless the company’s culture makes a change from the ground up and motivates employees to change their behavior. Brittany Packnett, vice president for Teach for America – and someone that President Barack Obama tapped as someone to watch in the crusade for social change – added that “if the training is not followed up by clear measurements and employee expectations—connected directly to job performance—then one day [of training] won’t make much difference.” She added that training “can’t be watered down, and it can’t be undermined by lax expectations post-training.”

Echoing these sentiments, Rick Grimaldi, a partner at Fisher Phillips, notes that the effectiveness of any training program comes from follow-through on the training, and creating measurable change “from the top down and bottom up through continued monitoring, feedback, and being present in stores, as well as secondary mechanisms such as corporate responsibility programs [and] community outreach.”

Starbucks is still in the planning phase of crafting its training program, but it has drafted some of the brightest minds in the field to help build what could be a revolutionary model for staff training. Starbucks plans to share the training materials with other companies and organizations to elicit an even broader change.

Abel can help your company with bias issues and employee training. Call one of our human resource experts at (800) 400-1968 or email at info@abelhr.com.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HR Managers: Discover how to effectively tackle business challenges with a PEO
Small Business: Discover how Abel HR can help your business.

Featured BLOGS

  • Proposed Marijuana Legislation Leaves Employers in the Weeds

    While we hear a lot about the benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana—the business opportunities it provides, expungement of criminal records, where dispensaries will be located and the like—no one is talking about the human resource ramifications. Yes, decriminalizing recreational marijuana is a step forward in many ways, but as our home state of New Jersey inches closer to legalization, with New York hot on our heels, there are holes in the legislation that leave lots of questions for businesses. We discuss these issues in-depth in our op-ed that was published in Insider NJ. Read the full op-ed where Abel HR

  • Why Evidence-Based Decision Making Will Grow your Company

    A business owner wouldn’t make a decision without looking at the data behind it—what do the sales numbers look like? How much revenue do we need to make in order to offset the decision I’m about to make? Does it fit into the forecast? When folks discuss the role of HR, the first phrase to come to mind is unlikely to be “data-driven.” Instead, folks tend to believe that human resources focus on more human qualities: building relationships, promoting optimal communication, solving interpersonal issues, and managing career trajectories. However, evidence-based practice suggests that functions of HR managers can – and

Archives

FSA | CommuterNew EmployeeAbel PortalTime Clock