Several years ago, a nonprofit board I sat on had a fundraiser. My daughter, who was about 10 at the time, expressed an interest in attending, so I brought her.
Many nonprofit fundraisers have 50-50 raffles and this was no exception. My daughter, on her own, decided that she wanted to sell raffle tickets. Her ticket selling method? She walked up to people in the room and asked them, “Do you have $5?” and when they complied, she handed them a raffle ticket. Our then county executive told me that when he told her he only had a $20, she said, “Great, that means you get 5 raffle tickets because they are 5 for $20.”
Cute, isn’t it? What if my daughter wasn’t 10? What if she was a grown woman/man and approached people that way? What if she was a homeless person? I suspect that her pitch would not have been as well-received. The fact is that we make judgements/decisions every day on people based on the interpretive lens we put on them.
Does this happen in the workplace? You bet. I’ve sat in meetings where managers fret over giving someone 6-weeks off for maternity leave, but don’t flinch when someone suddenly needs 2 months off due to an unexpected illness or injury. Or commending a male co-worker for leaving early for a child’s soccer game but think less of a woman who leaves early for a family commitment.
In HR, we call this lens implicit bias, and it is a field we are studying and learning more about and is one of the many reasons small companies need The HR Team. If you’d like to learn more or need help, give us a call.