Michelle DeBeyer is a Human Resources Business Partner at Google. She will be speaking at Change The Ratio Waterloo Region about the company’s program to bring to light employees’ subconscious bias. She shared with us how the program has helped her as a parent.
Can you remember a time when you experienced bias, as a child and/or an adult? What happened and how did you handle it?
As a child I was definitely steered towards more traditionally female jobs. I came from a traditional household where I was encouraged to be a teacher, a nurse, and a wife and mother. I was never told I could even be an engineer or something equivalent. I try to be more open with my three daughters and they know they can do anything.
How do you wish to influence and change your own workplace culture?
Google has lofty goals and I believe in them. I want to make Google and Google Canada in particular the best work environment in the world. The most tolerant and the most respectful. A place where people can bring their authentic self to work and thrive. I think we are doing a good job – but we can always do better.
Are there unconscious biases that you’ve noticed in yourself? How do you catch yourself and unlearn them?
I totally have biases – everyone does. I did our unconscious bias test and I know I still think of some parenting tasks as female for example.
I didn’t know that I did until I did the test, but these biases stem from our childhood and since I have an amazing traditional mom who was a great nurturer, who gave me a great childhood, this made me want to take on that role and give my girls those same amazing feelings.
Knowing this bias in myself was helpful. I work full-time and the belief in the traditional mother role caused more stress on myself. Knowing that helped me realize I don’t have to do all those things and my husband can help out – and I can outsource – and that is OK! So recognizing that I was biased and I was putting that on myself was extremely helpful.
Hear Michelle talk about the Google employee Bias Busters program at Change the Ratio Waterloo Region March 10th. Register>