Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

Unconscious biases are reinforced by the environments we grow up in and past experiences in our life. We could unknowingly be discriminating against people based on factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and class. Remember–this doesn’t mean you aren’t a good person. However, it is necessary to address the existence of this phenomenon, and recognize the way our unconscious minds think. Here are 3 benefits of defying the unconscious bias in the workplace.

  1. Hiring process

Employers may sometimes find themselves comparing candidates based on factors that are unrelated to their qualifications. Often, these biases are conscious and deliberate. However, it’s possible that some people unintentionally associate groups to individuals. It’s natural to avoid people that would impede on the company’s growth, but it’s important to view each candidate objectively, and to prevent the unconscious bias from negatively affecting your decision-making. Addressing your unconscious bias may allow you to create a more diverse and balanced workplace.   

Solution: Kanjoya is a company that creates technology that will allow employers to keep track of their recruiting and employment process. Its tools can detect intent and emotions in language, and can identify when unconscious bias is interfering. Addressing discrimination at the hiring stage will result in significantly better decision-making void of prejudice.

  1. Workplace Environment

Having a balanced demographic representation doesn’t resolve this issue. Unconscious bias can exist in the form of harassment in the workplace. It is human instinct to utilize unconscious bias when interacting with others, as we use it to determine whether the situation is dangerous or not. However, employees will not be able to thrive in a hostile environment. In order to improve productivity, workers must set aside differences, and learn to be accepting of people regardless of their background.

Solution: It’s important to implement policies that will prevent future conflicts from occurring in the workplace. Your workers should know that they are in safe and welcoming environment, which can be done by requiring certain training courses. OpenSesame offers a wide range of courses focused on diversity promotion and harassment prevention.

  1. Personal Confidence

In the past, certain groups have not had the same rights and privileges that others were inherently born with. This continues even today, and the disparities seen in everyday life have altered our perspectives about their roles and positions in society. It’s easy for your beliefs and goals to follow that of the social norm–however, these beliefs can negatively affect your career advancement, and hold you back from showcasing your true potential.

Solution: Companies should make an effort to invest in the minority groups that are typically underrepresented in the workplace, or are often subject to bias and harassment. They must get rid of old assumptions and beliefs and replace them with new ones. If you have employees that aren’t confident in their own abilities, no one else will be either.

Defying the unconscious bias is a difficult task. You’re not always able to detect it, and even if you do, it is so ingrained in our lives that reversing it is a challenge. If you’re starting to question your self-judgement, or you’re just curious, consider taking the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The results of this test could lead to a discovery of implicit associations you didn’t know you had.