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Addressing Bias

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6 Min Read

Diversity at Google

 

Diversity and Inclusion at Google

You can be one of the most innovative companies in the history of the world, but there can still be problems some major problems unbeknownst to the public. Google found this out in 2014 when it released its workforce diversity report, and the results weren’t pretty. The report found that of Google’s over 46,000 full-time employees (at the time):

  • Only 30% were women
  • Women made up only 17% of the tech workforce
  • Men were 79% of the Google leadership
  • 61% of Google employees were white, 3% were Latino, and 2% were black

This increase in transparency came as Silicon Valley has come increasingly under fire with regards to its diverse hiring practices. Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson even met with shareholders from Hewlett Packard, Facebook, and Google to talk about the lack of diversity in the workplace and disclose employee demographic information to the public. Google was the only company to release the information.

When it comes to hiring, Google has only made a smidgen of progress on the road to a more diverse workforce. Women now make up 18% of Google employees, and 21% of Google leadership, while African-Americans and Latinos showed no increase in representation at Google. However, the company is putting their money where their mouth is, and creating programs in order to fix this problem.

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In January, Google announced that it was spending $150 million on efforts to increase diversity, including recruiting at more HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) and creating curriculums and investing in programs that give females and minorities identify with the world of computer programming. Google has paid particular attention to programs like Girls who Code, and CODE2040.

In addition to focusing on diversity hiring, Google created networks based on race, gender and sexual orientation for employees who want to focus on the company’s diversity projects. The company also developed an “Unconscious Bias at Work” program that has helped Googlers become aware of preconceived bias at work.

Laszlo Bock, Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, said that Google is helping to reduce the influence of bias in four ways:


  1. Through fact-gathering- collecting data on gender representation within Google’s various projects
  2. Creating a structure for making decisions- Applying the same structure and evaluation for each interview and decision that needs to be made
  3. Being mindful of subtle cues- Google originally had their conference rooms named after solely male scientists, but changed it for more balanced representation
  4. Foster awareness and hold each other accountable- The company created a “bias busting” checklist at performance reviews to help managers become aware of their own biases and call out others that might not have the same awareness.

The FairWords’ Difference

FairWords understands the importance  eliminating the bias that persists in the workplace. Educating employees and putting the necessary structures to foster awareness of unconscious bias that employees commit is key to creating a safer, and more harmonious workplace. What does your workplace do to fight bias? What kinds of activities or programs can you create to help prevent bias in your own office?  

Topics:   Addressing Bias