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Facebook's Training to Manage Diversity

The overall numbers in the tech industry have shown that the majority of employees are white and male.

The company has offered us a glimpse into Facebook’s training to manage diversity in the workplace after their last report showed disappointing statistics. As expected, and mostly like all technology oriented companies, Facebook’s numbers showed that a very low percentage of employees were women while the overall majority were white males.

In June, the company reported that 68% of its employees were male, while the overall global workforce in the industry is of 85% men.

However, the social media titan is doing its best to improve those worrying statistics and are sharing their methods with the public. By releasing the “Managing Unconscious Bias” video, Facebook is describing the training they designed in order to avoid problems rising due to gender or cultural differences in the workplace.

Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, who is also the author of “Lean In”, a bestseller book encouraging women to take control of their careers, states that they have worked side by side with researchers in order to provide the best training that helps people recognize issues of bias. It’s reported to offer them a proper tool through which to recognize, fix or inform of uncalled for behavior in the workplace.

The hour long video delves into issues such as the importance of first impressions, the variety and harm of stereotyping, the types of existing biases and how to combat them. And Facebook encourages other companies to use their training as a starting point in doing the same. It’s not exclusively provided for Facebook employees anymore.

The company’s designed training is meant to educate potential employers and job-seekers on the realities of gender or cultural stereotyping, by stating that the only way to prevent or correct unconscious bias is to first understand it.

Sandberg stated that it’s a matter of grave importance given the statistics showing that people with “black sounding names” are much less likely to receive a call back after an interview than a person with a “white sounding name”. In addition, applicants with the name “Jennifer” were shown to be offered lower salaries than applicants with the name “John”.

The Facebook representative underlines the point that even high valued and large companies can still have issues with diversity within the workplace and they should start pondering on where the problem might lie. It would be a step by step progress, but solutions are possible and “small changes can make a big difference” in the long run.

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