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Are you Biased

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Are You Biased?

Do your job ads insist on “native English speakers”, “attractive females”, and what you have? Is it about the job and qualifications, or are you biased? How is that bad for business? And since being responsible starts at home, how responsible are you towards your employees, and what message do your HR policies send out to the community, asks Hanan Nagi – coach, speaker, founder and CEO of HNI Training & Coaching.

Looking for a (insert nationality), good-looking female, age below 25 years, for the post of sales executive.

Ever seen such an ad like that before? How do you feel about it? Maybe you have published something similar when you had a vacancy and believed you knew exactly what type of person would fit the job profile. But the question is: Is this really good for your business? While such an ad would be illegal in most western countries, it is acceptable in the Middle East as well as many other regions.

Please allow me to wear my “HR hat” for a minute and tell you a little more about this. There is a long-standing debate about whether advertising such specific criteria (where you are legally able to) is a good idea or not. Those, in favor, usually justify it through their perception of business requirements – the receptionist needs to be an attractive woman, the IT post needs to be filled by an Indian, the senior manager needs to be a westerner, and so on. Sounds familiar?

It is all about assumptions and stereotyping. Have you ever caught yourself generalizing that “all men are like that”, “all women are bad drivers”, and other such blanket statements? If yes, you are not alone. Most people stereotype based on direct and indirect learning.

Direct learning is the outcome of one of your own experiences. For example if someone visits a new country and gets robbed right at the airport, they might generalize and call everyone in that country “a thief”. Is that true? Of course not, but because of the strong emotional reaction (anger and frustration) that this visitor had, their generalized reaction was formed.

Indirect learning is more powerful and dangerous because it is deeply rooted within us. It is what we learn from observing others – especially when we are children and more impressionable – or from friends, family, colleagues, the media, and so on.

Why is it bad for Business?

You might be stereotyping a certain criteria such as age,race or colour, gender. Firstly, age; “After a certain age, people are not productive.” Really? Look back or even around you today and see how many great leaders, entrepreneurs and scientists have been productive until they were very old. Secondly, race and colour; do I need to remind you who the current President of the United States is? Thirdly, gender, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, who is considered one of the most influential Arab leaders today.

So what is the problem? The problem is that you are advertising for a person, not a job, and that person – that person who is perfect for the job (in your view anyway) – is shaped and specified by these unconscious biases.

Why should you overcome that? Because your business needs diversity in a diverse marketplace, and you might lose out on much-needed skills simply because you look for them in a certain package. It is also because this is the day and age of blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and consumers who are exerting their choices and opinions. Word will get out to your customers and stakeholders and the resulting bad PR could affect your sales, or even land you in a legal mess if you operate in countries with strict laws against discrimination.

Getting it right 
So how can you overcome your prejudices? How can you stop being unconsciously biased and get rid of what we call the “halo effect” (hiring people who we believe will do the job perfectly, according to our own assumptions)?

  1. Bring it to the conscious mind:
    Be aware of your unconscious bias and where it comes from. Remember that we did not choose our own race, gender, religion or nationality – and that the opinions you hold are not always yours; they could easily be someone else’s that you have observed, internalized, and now you consider them as your own.
  2. Pause and correct
    When you become aware of these biases in your conscious mind and catch yourself stereotyping, stop! Remind yourself that by doing that you are giving your personal power away to old beliefs, which are most probably not really yours.
  3. Question assumptions by taking the opposite point of view
    When you or someone else makes an assumption, immediately think of the opposite point of view and ask yourself whether that would be an acceptable, or perhaps an even better choice. So when you catch yourself saying “native speakers are preferred”, ask “do I really think that in this day and age of changing global economic power-centers, non-native speakers are disadvantaged or less qualified?”

Now that you can catch and stop these biases and be more objective, there are a few things you need to do to improve the quality and caliber of the people you hire:

  1. Advertise for a job, not a person
    After you have carefully analyzed the job you are hiring for, create a job specification. List the essential qualifications, skills, competencies, expertise, knowledge and experience that the person doing this job needs to have and invite applications from anyone who meets these criteria.

Remember; keep the essential criteria to the absolute minimum, otherwise, you might disqualify good people because your essential criteria were too high. For example, if you are hiring an office manager, and in the essential educational qualification required you list: “college graduate”, then you might be missing out on great candidates with great experience, who hold a diploma in management instead of a BA.

  1. Be open-minded about the applicants
    If the applicant meets the essential job specification then you should look at your desired criteria which is: what additional skills or talents would I like to have within my team?

Again, you are looking for the best fit to the job vacancy you have, based on skills and experience, not based on that person’s passport details. Interview with an open mind and see how those potential candidates will fit into the culture of the company, interact with their new colleagues, and how can they add value and promote diversity in your workplace.

  1. Create a genuinely open work culture
    Deal with prejudices amongst employees and nip them in the bud. This is more effective through measures like culture appreciation sessions, education and awareness. Develop talent – across the board. Hire managers who share your vision and spread the message down the line. Provide career advancement opportunities that take into account different needs, while reinforcing that what matters is accountability despite the flexibility.

Happy hiring!

About:

Hanan Nagi is an International Trainer, Executive Coach, Personal Development Expert, Writer and inspirational Speaker. She is the producer and presenter of the first coaching and human development TV show, ‘Develop your life’, on DMTV. With more than 16 years of corporate experience in the corporate world in various industries, she has been helping organisations achieve their goals through their people, using training and coaching programmes. She has been recognised for her contribution to excellence and achievement in the people’s field by H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and has won the Dubai Government Excellence Award.

About HNI Training & Coaching

HNI Training and Coaching as a Dubai training center, is an innovator and leader in human capital development, providing world-class experiential corporate training solutions and services in English and Arabic to organisations in the MENA region. HNI Training and Coaching is amongst the leading training institutes in Dubai that currently offers training courses in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha in 16 different categories.

A wide array of soft-skills development training courses cater to professionals from all organizational levels. We are the only training institute that does not provide, nor support, the typical mundane class-room training delivery. Our training courses help participants to gain hands-on skills during the sessions, ensuring that knowledge is truly gained and retained. Our experiential and practical corporate training solutions have impacted more than 100 top companies so far, and the number is increasing by the day. Whether you are looking for a training center in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Oman, Saudi Arabia or anywhere else in the MENA region, we can bring our training center to you. Our qualified and experienced team of Master Trainers travels across the region to bring training courses to your doorstep. All you have to do is go through our corporate training courses and contact us on info@hni.ae for further information.

By: Hanan Nagi

Founder & CEO

HNI Training & Coaching

 

Edited by: Hadeer Salah Aldeen

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How did the International Certification from the HRCI change your career?

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Testimonials from Certified HR Professionals in the Middle East

Journalism: Menna Hamdy

Mostafa Gallal (PHRi, Egypt) – Recruitment Manager at Al Ezz Dekheila Steel

“The most important thing about the certification content is that it helps us to understand the HR science from a global perspective. In addition, to updating us about the new HR trends.

Most of us don’t practice at work all the HR functions, so it allows me to learn about all the HR functions.

Being certified gave me the opportunity to take a role in many projects, as well as participating in many events that added a real value for me.

My mindset started to think about top management decisions and how I can solve the regular issues that happens between top management and unions. I learnt that when proposing any new idea, I should take into consideration how to apply it in a way that fits my company culture

I would advise HR professionals when approaching their HRCI Certifications content study; to try to understand the practical way of each module, and to get acquainted with the HR Expressions and abbreviations as they are very important; they have to study them very well.”

Ezzddin Malek (SPHRi – PHRi, Egypt) – HR Manager at Misr Capital S.A.E

“I acquired my PHRi and SPHRi certifications in 2017 and it gave me an edge to make 2 steps up in my career from senior HR specialist in 2017 to Head of HR in a multinational company within just 2 years and I was chosen by HRCI to be an exam development panelist since 2018.”

Mina Adel (PHRi, Egypt) – HR Manager at IRAM JEWELRY

“Knowing the latest internationally applied methods of human resource management and being a certified practitioner from the premier human resources certification institute (HRCI) made me qualified to undertake larger tasks and assume advanced responsibilities in the field of human resources”

Mohannad Albashabsheh (SPHRi- PHRi, Jordan) – HR & Training Section Head in JBC

“Practicing HR Professionally is an outstanding responsibility. Being SPHRi certified facilitated for me the knowledge, skills, attitude and resulting power to be successful HR Professional”

Dana Hasan (PHRi, Jordan) – TA, LD Section Head

“I have got my first HRCI certification in 2014, then I got my recertification in 2017 as PHRi. Getting such certification helped me to grow in my HR career, stand as a distinguished HR professional in international and multinational companies. 

One of the main reasons that enabled me to work for big companies and be a business partner is having a professional certification.

I advise each professional: Invest in yourself, strengthen your experience with knowledge”

Mariham Magdy (PHRi, Egypt) – HR, Strategy and Management Consultant & Trainer

“As an HR Trainer & Consultant I believe that one of the most important benefits of the International Certification by the HRCI is how efficiently it builds the mind-set of the HR professionals acquainting them with the technical know-how for HR, spoken and standardized in an international language.

The HRCI exerts sound efforts to provide learners with valuable framework that can help them understand technically correct the processes of the different HR functions.

The HRCI Certification enabled me to understand the HR science from an international perspective, which gave me confidence in my work as an HR practitioner and Trainer.

The knowledge learnt throughout the certifications content designs for us a reliable road-map for the right steps to follow for decision making in HR.

I strongly recommend the certification for each professional aiming to progress his/her career in the HR field. Take a step today that you will thank yourself for it tomorrow”

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Interview with Eureka (ICS Learn Student) Customer Service Agent – Qatar Airways

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Interviewer: Mariham Magdy

1. HR Revolution Middle East: Welcome to HR Revolution Middle East Magazine. It’s a great pleasure to have the opportunity to make this interview with you.

What special recommendations would you share with CIPD students to encourage them to progress in their study?

ICS Learn Student:

Going through a period of change is very challenging and emotionally draining with the end outcome almost always unforeseeable. Everything seems to be unpredictable, but that is okay! Take some time to adapt to this new situation, accept it as positive reinforcement to yourself. Add value to yourself. Break through the situations in life. Continuing to learn will bring you academic and professional value to be the person whom you always want to be.

2- HR Revolution Middle East: How did the online set-up provided by ICS learn supported you to finish your CIPD Certification?

ICS Learn Student:

As a CIPD student, I am very glad that I choose ICS Learn as my platform. The online set-ups are very easy to go through and convenient to manage time. Especially as I am a full-time worker, it is very challenging to manage time for study or attend classes. However, ICS Learn supports you with recorded classes and fast responsive tutor support. That connection always made me feel that I was in a live classroom.

3- HR Revolution Middle East:  To what extent do you believe that the CIPD has helped you to progress on your professional path and opened new doors for different career opportunities?

ICS Learn Student:

CIPD is an internationally recognised professional body. Most employer’s value and recognize the professional certification of CIPD. Being a CIPD Member gives professional values to my CV, especially in the field of Human Resources Management.

4- HR Revolution Middle East: How did your HR practice at your organization changed after acquiring the CIPD certification?

ICS Learn Student:

My organization recognized me as an HR student as I am successfully achieving my professional qualifications with CIPD. I feel more confident as they look at me as someone whom they can rely on professionally at any given task.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: What special support have you received from your Tutors at ICS Learn that evidently helped you to finalize your certification?

ICS Learn Student:

During my study period, the support that I received from all ICS Learn tutors is special. Personalized feedback with regards to any assessments helped to achieve pass grades. I highly appreciate that all my tutors are available to answer or clarify any inquires related to my assignments or theoretical doubts in the one-to-one online chat forum.

6- HR Revolution Middle East: The online administrative support is one of the most important things an online global learner need, how was it flexible to proceed with such important certification through the online platform of ICS Learn?

ICS Learn Student:

ICS Learn is one of the best and most recommended online learning providers. The online admin support is a click away as we all are connected in different time zones in the world. That is very important as an online global learner. They do not only support academically but also technically. As a path connecter to the CIPD body, ICS Learn have a very professional admin team.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: How did your problem-solving techniques changed in dealing with HR challenges after finalizing your CIPD certification?

ICS Learn Student:

As an HR student, a CIPD qualification will enrich you with academic techniques. I have improved lots of skills that are helping me to handle challenges in a patient and professional manner. All the studies are practical scenarios rather than theoretical ones which allows me to improve as an individual and improve my behaviours as a people person.

8- HR Revolution Middle East: What would be your next academic degree in mind after the CIPD?

ICS Learn Student:

I would like to do a master’s degree in Human Resources Management.

9- HR Revolution Middle East: Do you believe HR/L&D professionals shall create communities of practice to encourage one another in finalizing their CIPD certifications and nurture the profession that way?

ICS Learn Student:

Yes, I do believe so. Being connected to a community that is driven by the same goals and targets is encouraging. It also helps to build confidence and practice some of the professional behaviours by supporting each other. Sharing each other’s knowledge and giving feedback and different viewpoints always achieves a better outcome.

10- HR Revolution Middle East: What are the needed competences for an HR professional to excel in his/her CIPD studies?

ICS Learn Student:

The field of HR is dynamic and our ability to process and understand it requires self-motivation. Growing in your job means being receptive to new ideas, wherever they may come from. HR professionals who never stop learning are well-positioned to translate well thought out industry trends and data into actionable insights. CIPD is the perfect gateway to our dream career. They support choosing the right course to up-skill your HR practice and stay motivated remotely.

THANK YOU

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تعاون بين شباب السودان ومصر لتنظيم النسخة الثامنة لتيدكس ودمدني بالسودان

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شباب من مصر والسودان يترجموا التعاون بين البلدين الشقيقين في المشاركة في تنظيم النسخة الثامنة لمؤتمر تيدكس ودمدني بالسودان.

يعتبر شهر مارس بكل عام بمدينة ودمدني السودانية شهر مختلف ومتميز وذلك لأنه على مدى 7 أعوام متتالية يشهد على تنظيم حدث لمؤتمر تيدكس العالمي، وجاءت النسخة الثامنة التي كانت بيوم 27 مارس 2021 نسخة متميزة ومنفردة بجمال أفكارها ومشاريعها وتنظيمها الذي تم الأشراف عليه من البلدين الشقيقين، وكانت المشاركات شاملة لكل المجالات التي تهدف لتنمية المجتمع والفرد ونذكر منها:

ياسمين يوسف (جمهورية السودان) تحدثت عن تحديها للإعاقة ووقوفها ضد المجتمع ودفاعها عن حقوقها في التعليم وكيف استطاعت أن تتجاوز كل تلك الصعاب بإرادة قوية حتى تم تسميتها باسم صاحبة الإرادة وتعتبر ياسمين الآن من الشخصيات الملهمة في السودان.

تحدث محمود منسي (جمهورية مصر العربية) على أعادة بناء الدول والمجتمعات بعد الثورات وجاء الموضوع مناسباً للمرحلة التي يمر بها السودان الشقيق وأستطاع محمود إلهام الشباب السوداني لأخذ دور في بناء البلد وذلك بتفاعلهم مع موضوعه.

تحدث كذلك أحمد رجب (جمهورية مصر العربية) على فكرة رقصة التانجو وعلاقتها بالإدارة والقيادة داخل المؤسسات.

وكذلك سها هيكل (جمهورية مصر العربية) وجهت رسالة توعوية للمجتمع لتغير نظرته تجاه الفنيين باعتبارهم شريحة مهمة في المجتمع، وأن محاربة العنصرية والتمييز في شتى مجالات العمل.

بينما وعد عصام (جمهورية مصر العربية) تحدثت عن الصعوبات التي تواجه طلاب الثانويات خصوصاً في تعلم اللغة الإنجليزية وكيفية التغلب عليها بنصائح سهلة بسيطة ومباشرة ووضحت وعد أن اللغة عبارة عن مهارات تكتسب وتمارس.

ياسمين يوسف (جمهورية السودان) تحدثت عن تحديها للإعاقة ووقوفها ضد المجتمع ودفاعها عن حقوقها في التعليم

ومن المشاركين كذلك من البراء عثمان (دولة الأمارات العربية المتحدة) الذي تحدث عن تجربته مع الاكتئاب وكيف استطاع تجاوزه بتوجيه طاقته تجاه ممارسة هوايته وهي الموسيقى وكيف أن ممارسة الموسيقى تساعد على التوازن النفسي.

فاطمة أحمد (جمهورية السودان) التي دعت للمحبة والسلام وتقبل الاّخر لبناء سودان جديد مستعرضة تجربة رواندا.

وكذلك تحدثت ماب خالد (جمهورية السودان) على أهمية التوعية بالعلاج النفسي وتجربتها في إقناع الحكومة لتضمين العلاج النفسي في التأمين الصحي وتوعية المواطنين بالصحة النفسية.

وعن السياحة تحدث بشغف محمد مجذوب (جمهورية السودان) وعن تاريخ السودان الذي يمتد ل 7000 سنة وعن حضارة الفراعنة داعياً الحكومة للترويج للسياحة في السودان معتبرا مؤتمر تيدكس مدني مؤتمراً يساهم في دفع عجلة السياحة بالبلاد وذلك للمشاركة الكبيرة من المتحدثين والجمهور من المناطق المختلفة.

وتحدثت أصغر المشتركات أسيل يوسف (جمهورية السودان) عن إمكانية استغلال الموهبة لمصدر دخل وتنميتها بالممارسة داعية شباب جيلها لحذو طريقها وختمت خنساء سيربال (جمهورية السودان) المؤتمر بحديثها على دور الممرض في المنظومة الطبية.

بالإضافة إلى الإعلامي إيهاب مجدي من مصر معد ومقدم فقرات برنامج المؤتمر، بالمشاركة مع الإعلاميين السودانيين خالد علي وآية عابدين.

وبختام المؤتمر قدم محمود منسي درع الأكاديمية العربية للعلوم والتكنولوجيا والنقل البحري للمنظم د. وائل العائد الذي شكر بدوره الأكاديمية العربية على دورها الكبير في إنجاح المؤتمر باعتبارها الشريك الأساسي وشكرها للمنحة التي تم تقديمها للمؤتمر وقام كذلك بتوجيه الشكر لكل الجهات التي ساهمت في إنجاح المؤتمر:

السيدة مونيكا وحيد، ممثل شركة تاركو للطيران مكتب مدني

HR Revolution Middle East

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