How We’re Prioritizing Diversity & Inclusion and Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Workplace
On Tuesday, July 7, Playa Bowls welcomed Dr. Denise Dennis, Cultural Sensitivity & Diversity Trainer at Prepared Mind Coaching and Professor at Rutgers University to lead our corporate team through a workshop titled “Diversity, Inclusion and Unconscious Bias in the Workplace.”
This is one of the many efforts we are taking as a company to further educate our staff and ourselves on how to be more aware and inclusive with our brand, as well as, how to fuel diversity within the company.
Dr. Dennis began her training by asking us to rethink our idea of treating others the way we want to be treated and instead, learning to treat people the way that THEY want to be treated. This gives us the opportunity to truly get to know our employees and celebrate their diversity – the uniqueness that each of them brings to the workplace – which ultimately creates an inclusive environment where everyone feels respected and appreciated.
We began with an exercise designed to help evaluate our diversity awareness. This included a series of questions we as a company and community can ask ourselves:
- Do we treat people and groups fairly?
- Are we personalizing individuals?
- Can we leverage the thinking of the diverse?
- Do we make others feel welcome & inspired?
These are questions we have always strived to prioritize at Playa Bowls and it was great to renew our commitment to these efforts. As a company we can always do more and that starts by listening more acutely to our communities and customers.
We also learned about unconscious bias which is a lack of awareness, and bias, based on a preference or inclination that inhibits impartiality. This happens when people make assumptions or judge someone unconsciously based on how others are treating them, how they look, how someone from that particular group or situation has been treated in the past and if they are similar to you. Playa Bowls committed to eliminating these biases in the following ways:
- Recognize our own vulnerabilities: our traits and people biases.
- Recognize the contexts when our biases may be most active.
- Assume bias will be at play: pause and think
- Be on the lookout for microaggressions
The key word that stands out here is: recognize. The more we are cognizant of how and why we are thinking or feeling the way we are, the easier it is to overcome it.
Addressing racism in communities
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has enhanced our commitment to doing our part to shine a light on the injustices within our world. With this in mind, our final topic in Dr. Denise Dennis’ workshop highlighted racism. A racist is defined as, “One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea.” While many have stood up during this time and claimed to be ”not racist,” Dr. Dennis explains, this is not enough. We need to go a step further as a community to be an “Anti-Racist, one who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.”
Here are just a few of the steps we have taken:
While it was an incredible workshop for our corporate team and franchise owners to attend, we know it does not stop here. Here are just a few of the steps we have taken:
- Updated our Playa TVs to showcase the diversity of our customers & communities
- Painting our mermaids in stores with outlines only to show equality of all races
- Donated to NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and Loveland Foundation
Here are our next steps as a company:
We are looking forward to continuing to grow and evolve as a brand and hope you will join us! Here are additional next steps we will be taking as a company:
- We will be sharing this training with all store managers/owners and setting up monthly check-ins with our teams to make sure they feel that their diversity is celebrated
- Open up communication to ensure that Playa Bowls remains an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.
- Championing anti-racist ideas and opening up larger conversations with our community on how we can better support them.
Recommended further reading & how to get involved:
- For further reading, Dr. Dennis recommended this book.
Login or register to find out your implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other topics at www.implicit.harvard.edu/implicit.
Rob & Abby