In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), we joined together to break the bias. At KIOXIA, many of us wore our T-shirts on IWD and crossed our arms with a dedicated resolve. However, for some, bias may be confusing or misunderstood. What is bias and why was it so important that it was the focus of this year’s IWD?
There are two distinct types of bias that exist, and this is likely where the confusion lies. Let’s first explore explicit or conscious bias. This is when an individual knowingly and willingly acts with intent toward a person or group. Simply put, conscious bias is prejudice. When extreme prejudice exists it can manifest into malicious and even violent behavior.
The second type of bias is the one that you—yes you—have! The fact is, whether you like it or not, as human beings we have implicit or unconscious bias. Our brains have stored years of memories, experiences and emotions. From this data, we have developed beliefs and attitudes that we unconsciously connect to in order to make decisions. Let’s face it, our brains are busy.
Since KIOXIA is in the memory business, let’s put this in relevant terms. It is estimated that the human brain has the capacity to store approximately 2.5 petabytes of data1 and is figuratively the processor and the storage of our own computing system. With so much data, our brain looks for ways to make quicker, easier decisions by soliciting help from our unconscious. This part of our brain is where we have stored beliefs and attitudes; it is where our bias originates. Sometimes bias is good, but often times, it is wrought with problems.
Let’s put this in simple terms. I don’t like Indian food. Why? Because the one time I had it, I had a severe stomachache; maybe it was the curry, maybe it was the restaurant or maybe the food was bad. Whatever the reason, I have never eaten Indian food again. Do you see the problem?
Let’s relate this to the hiring process. Maybe you’ve had bad experiences with a certain group of people or perhaps you are used to seeing a certain group be more prominent or effective in a specific position. Your busy brain taps into its database and the output is based on what you are accustomed to and feel comfortable with. The result is the same type of person is selected and you miss out on a great opportunity for diversity, not only in gender or race but in values, experiences and competencies. Do you see how unconscious bias can result in flawed decision making?
How do we break the bias? We need to make a conscious effort to take the time to be unbiased. In other words, we need to practice conscious un-bias! The result will be a more diverse work force where people from different backgrounds, experiences, competencies and knowledge will work together and thrive. Let’s celebrate and value the difference in people rather than their similarities. Let’s welcome new thoughts, ideas and concepts. As contributors, decision makers and hiring managers, we can be the catalyst for change. Let’s do this and let’s break the bias together.
1 Scientific America: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-memory-capacity/
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of KIOXIA America, Inc.