One of many steps taken to help create a more inclusive and accepting work environment here at Aspire of WNY is the new implicit bias workshops that are being offered to employees throughout the agency. These workshops aim to help employees be able to identify and recognize implicit biases and microaggressions. Implicit biases are most often defined as negative feelings or stereotypes that appear automatically and unintentionally. Oftentimes, we are not consciously aware of these, making discussion around this topic crucial to being able to recognize implicit biases as they appear.
The implicit bias workshops are activity-based and centered around group discussions. The workshops aim to offer employees a safe space to be able to talk about diversity and inclusion. One activity that is done within the workshops is a diversity flower activity. The group is broken up into smaller groups, and then groups are asked to draw a flower with petals and a center. In the center of the flower, groups write down things that they all share in common. On the petals of the flower, members of the groups write down something that is unique to them. Group members are then able to discuss and identify things that they would not have initially realized when first meeting each other. Recognizing differences and where they come from is an extremely important factor in combating implicit biases altogether.
“The implicit bias workshops are extremely interactive and create great discussions between employees here at our agency,” explains Melissa Roth, Chief Human Resources Officer at Aspire of WNY. “The activities and discussions that take place at the workshops encourage everyone to take a closer look at any biases they may have, and really question them.”
“The goal of these workshops is to help everyone look deeper beneath the surface,” says Renee Filip, President and CEO at Aspire of WNY. “Everyone comes from different backgrounds and experiences, so being able to recognize and talk about implicit bias is essential.”
Creating safe spaces to have these discussions is vital to the growth of our agency. Learning about how to recognize implicit biases helps teams collaborate to the best of their ability, and building stronger teams is essential to providing the best care possible to the individuals that our agency supports. This is just one of the first steps in many that Aspire of WNY is taking towards diversity and inclusion.