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Furthering the conversation: Unconscious bias is about more than just race and gender

By Brock Huffstutler

April 17, 2023

During The ARA Show™ in Orlando, a panel of industry members led a discussion centered on unconscious bias and promoting rental as an excellent career option for anyone.

One panel member, Carol Fontanez, ECP-SM, rental manager, Jamco, Inc., Sanford, Fla., emerged from the session inspired to share additional thoughts on the topic that she feels can help those in the industry further develop an inclusive workplace culture.

“Some feedback I received post-session suggested that some people expected to hear a message about disregarding race and gender just to get people hired,” Fontanez says. “That’s not what the panel was about. We really wanted to communicate that conquering unconscious bias in the workplace has so much to do with what comes after the hiring process. It’s about keeping people on the team by being unbiased in your daily approach and attitudes towards them.”

“It’s important that our industry understands that unconscious bias is not solely about race or gender. There are other major factors to consider,” she says, citing the following:

  • “Attitudes that influence our understanding, actions and decisions without us realizing it;
  • “Not hiring someone based on their qualifications, due to personal biases;
  • “The attitudes and beliefs that we hold, often without realizing it, that influence our perceptions and behavior towards certain individuals.”

“Recognizing our unconscious biases helps us create a more inclusive and equitable work environment. This can involve actively challenging our  assumptions, seeking out diverse perspectives, and taking action to reduce bias in our daily interactions and decision-making,” Fontanez says. Further guidance on the subject can be found in the video “Becoming Bias Aware: Tools for Building a More Inclusive Culture”. Click here to watch the video.