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Ducks in a Row: Bias—a Four Letter Word

by Miki Saxon

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brighton/8201654745/I had a solid dose of déjà vue when I read yet another article about the cancellation of Yahoo’s work-from-home policy, but this one from a different angle.

What about all the single people? And all the people without kids? We need to stop acting like they’re not part of the work-life conversation.

Some things never change.

I never married and after five decades in and around the workplace I find it dispiriting that almost nothing has changed.

The original version (before my time) was “Jim won’t mind, because he’s single”; the great improvement is now it’s “Jim or Judy won’t mind, because s/he’s single.”

Back then companies/managers assumed that singles were easy to relocate, because they didn’t own homes and moving costs would be minimal, since singles don’t own furniture or much stuff.

There are plenty of managers who still think that way.

Males were given hiring preference, because “they had families to support,” and while it may be 2013, that attitude still exists, however deeply buried.

Bias.

Unconscious or not, it has the power to taint, damage and even destroy anything/everything.

Bias drives homophily, not just in people, but skills; is grounded in assumptions and negates the diversity that leads to success.

Bias can lay waste to your culture and, in doing so, destroy your company.

Bias is a four letter word.

Flickr image credit: Jim Linwood

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