Insight

Understanding unconscious bias in the workplace

By David Lawrence |

Human beings are conditioned to think based on what they know, causing them to act with unconscious bias. This bias is inherited through the people closest to them, their personal experiences, and what they watch on TV, social media, and film.

The problem with unconscious bias is that it introduces unintentional discrimination, making it difficult to create an inclusive workplace.

In today’s blog post, we’ll be looking at the meaning of unconscious bias, how it affects your business, and what you can do to reduce its impact in the workplace.


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What is unconscious bias?


Unconscious biases are stereotypes and attitudes accumulated throughout our lifetime that influence our decision-making. They are triggered by our brain when making quick judgments of people and situations. Unconscious biases can be categorised into three main categories:

• Visual bias: Making assumptions about a person based on their physical appearance. It is also referred to as stereotyping and is mainly based on gender and age.
• Cultural bias: This involves classifying people based on their religion, job title, social class, accent, etc. It can cause exclusion in the workplace, giving rise to groupism.
• Experience bias: This type of bias is based on personal values, beliefs, and morals.

Impact of unconscious bias in the workplace


Unconscious biases affect your ability to make impartial decisions in the workplace. They affect the recruitment, mentoring, and promotion process, causing you to treat employees and customers with prejudice and behave with favouritism when it comes to performance reviews and promotion. As a result, your company loses talented employees and gets a bad reputation from customers.

Dealing with unconscious bias in the workplace


The best way to combat unconscious bias in the workplace is by recognising the signs and choosing to act fairly rather than acting on assumptions. Here are a few tips on how you can do that:

Set the tone across the business


Adopt zero tolerance for biased practices in the workplace. Create a code of conduct policy that drives a message of equality across the company and align your staff with your organisational values.

Recognise and act


Look into different departments of your company to find out which ones are exhibiting unconscious bias. In case of any issues, take the necessary measures to change those behaviours.

Creating a fair and transparent process for raising concerns will help encourage employees to speak out confidently against discrimination.

 


David Lawrence

Written by David Lawrence

David is the founder of Vine Resources.

 

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