Accepting the Alternate!

5 Ways to Dismantle Stereotypes at Workplaces

Article by Athira Premarajan

Accepting certain things seems like a herculean task for some of us. For instance, a friend who is a vegetarian denies a chicken wing that you offered during lunch break, with all due respect. The denial of the delicacy, to you, just seemed unacceptable, unfair. Even though there isn’t a personal dislike towards the other person, you tend to box that person under a special tag unconsciously.

This is an illustration of how and when an unconscious bias can act up.  And the result of this simple thought process is nothing but stereotyping. Anything that may go beyond a person’s frame of reference or perspectives alternate to perceived ones, biased thinking acts up, generalising the other person and underlining her/him under a particular category. The problems are of minor intensity when it happens in the general public. But in office spaces, higher its intensity, major the repercussions.

India Inc. is currently battling a tough time in bringing back normalcy from what the pandemic had brought along. And D&I goals given prime value, HR fraternity and leaders across the globe are striving hard to accomplish them that pertains to people management. This scenario has demanded a bigger picture of creating a welcoming, well-belonged, and psychologically safe environment for the employees. In this attempt, ‘stereotyping’ is given immense focus, as dismantling it in workplaces is of foremost importance for fostering a D&I compliant workplace. A few ways in which organisations can achieve this is by:

  1. Strengthening Policies

The foundation needs to be strong for any organisation to stand upright. In fact, policies and culture impact very strongly. As such, creating a positive work environment through well-structured policies helps. 47% of millennials pursue potential employers fostering D&I environ, a popular survey reports. 

  • Establishing Diversity

Starting with diversity hiring, the process must elevate with effective impact. As per the Boston Consulting Group study, organisations with diverse teams have proven to have higher creativity and profitability with over 19% higher revenues due to innovation.

  • Shuffling Groups

A workplace must always be a place for growth. Eradicating the concept of comfort zone brings along individual growth as well as organisational development. As such, inclusion will also take its stand, improving business and improvising teams. 74% of respondents in the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018 report cultural inclusion a major factor to an innovative workplace.

  • Encouraging Collaboration

A report by the World Economic Forum outlines how millennials will form 75% of the workforce by 2025. While this scenario settles, the harder it might get for the older generation to accept the variance in perspective. Facilitating mentoring or training sessions can help regain balance here.   

  • Acknowledging Biases

Biases are within every human being. And redefining your thoughts may only take a mentoring session or a good time with your supportive colleague who belongs to an entirely different culture. A perfect example to quote is the ‘We See Equal’ Campaign by P&G, that promotes equality within its workforce by making employees challenge gender stereotypes. Are you ready for the challenge?

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