Building Bridges and Creating Cultures Where Everyone Belongs


The D&I East Coast conference
was held in Brooklyn earlier this summer. This event was a great success—where more than 300 attendees learned from a diverse group of industry leaders who are passionate about cultivating healthy work environments and cultures.

Everyone is biased—that’s how the human brain is wired. To help reduce unconscious bias, companies need employees to change these habits (one at a time):

  • Actively mitigate unconscious bias in key decisions. Organizations can have more of an impact addressing bias at the team level than at the individual one. Reduce bias by noticing and labeling it and then making a different decision, with a goal to make one different decision per week. Create a common language for teams to address bias.
  • Intentionally increase everyday inclusion. Many inclusion strategies unintentionally exclude people, because if you celebrate the particular qualities of only one group, you create an out-group. Instead, incorporate an inclusion strategy that addresses at least three of these: Do I feel respected and valued? Am I in the loop? Am I given control? Do I belong? Do I get the same opportunities that others do?
  • Foster a culture of speaking up. Create a culture where people say what they think. Start with sharing ideas, then build up to calling out ethics violations and harassment. People often don’t speak up because they are afraid of retaliation.

Sometimes, a person or group needs someone to step in on their behalf. However, you can’t call yourself an ally. Someone else needs to call you that. And you don’t need to be an ally every minute of every day.

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