Many organizations genuinely aim to create inclusive work environments that provide all employees with a sense that they belong and will be given an equal opportunity to succeed.
Conscious or unconscious stereotypes—based on employees’ identities or social-group memberships—can lead to biased decisions, which can prevent organizations from hiring, developing, and promoting the best talent. For example, the widely shared stereotype that women are more relational and family-oriented than men may lead to the often-misguided assumption that women are not committed to their jobs after they have children, which can result in them being offered fewer opportunities for advancement.
These types of disparities in employees’ treatment and outcomes can emerge at different points: when people apply for jobs, whether they are interviewed and hired, how they are trained, what kinds of assignments they receive, whether and how they are mentored, and how their performance is evaluated.
If you are interested in creating a more level playing field for all employees, your organization can use data to understand how your practices and policies might be contributing to disparities, rely on research-based solutions to address these disparities, and test the effectiveness of these solutions to ensure that they are having the desired impact in your organization.