bias in the workplace
Unconscious bias in the workplace

Unconscious bias in the workplace

Unbeknownst to us, we are all biased; it is ingrained in our genes. According to psychologists, our implicit prejudices are actually our ‘people tastes,’ and we instinctively gravitate toward others that look like us, talk like us, and share our interests.

In a regular basis, we make rash decisions and depend on our gut feeling – we term this “intuition” – and managers are just as guilty in the workplace. This is not an efficient process; it is also not rational, current, or, in certain cases, legitimate. Biased viewpoints may be classified according to a variety of factors, including gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, weight, social status, country of origin, and political views.

Psychologists have identified three distinct forms of prejudice in the workplace: affinity bias (in which we overlook unfavourable characteristics of those we admire and concentrate on the flaws of others we dislike), peer contrast bias (in which we favor members of ‘our group’), and confirmatory bias (where we seek for facts that will confirm our pre-existing perceptions).

According to many, the most important thing to solve if those participating in the recruiting phase want to move on closing these discrepancies is implicit bias (gender, race, etc). If our observations are based on our upbringing or social environment, they impair our expectations of integrity, causing applicants to struggle and organizations to miss out on great hires. Businesses profit from a diverse workforce in a variety of ways, including improved entrepreneurial capacity and hires that are more representative of the broader community. Simply put, our neurology often results in bad decision-making, which may have major commercial consequences.

Therefore, how can we exclude latent prejudice from this process?

One of the first moves in eliminating prejudice is to understand its existence and to determine when, where, and how it impacts the company’s recruiting. You can take unconscious bias training to understand more how this whole psychological process works.

While an interview is the most apparent location for skewed viewpoints to occur, those perspectives may begin prior to this stage. Examining a CV for the first time introduces complications, and briefing the recruiting partners (internal and external) may also introduce prejudice. Phrases like “the kind of human,” “typical,” or “culture suit” all imply unconscious, prejudiced beliefs.

The circumstances in which decisions must be taken also have an effect on the level of prejudice applied: being forced to make a judgment under time limits, criticism from senior members of staff, or even exhaustion may all have a significant influence on the result.

Human resource departments are widely believed to be capable of guiding senior members of staff to prevent any obvious prejudices by educational courses, mentoring, assessments, and coaching. Additionally, a rigorous recruiting procedure would aid in the following:

Through offering comprehensive and skill-set-based role requirements, we can remove prejudices related to experiences and behaviors, and by including a diverse group of people in the interview phase, which can provide immediate capability input, we can make more informed observations and assessments.

Poor hiring decisions tend to come down to a need to hire copies of ourselves, and as people, we always fail to break out of the “same = healthy, different = dangerous” mentality. Employing people with diverse cultures has been shown to have a direct beneficial effect on organizations.

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Even after passing the recruiting phase, these prejudices will continue to influence a person’s advancement, or lack thereof. One employee can be assigned more significant or exciting assignments, receive additional assistance and preparation, and also receive a higher salary than another employee.

There is a compelling case for scenario-based and case-study preparation to truly assist workers in comprehending why they develop those prejudices and how this impacts the workplace’s capacity. Clearly, there is still more work to be done until those prejudices are eradicated completely from our workplaces, yet recognizing our biases and bringing them from the unconscious to the aware is unquestionably the first positive move we will take when we begin to resolve the issue.

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