Unconscious bias is a cognitive bias that resides in the subconscious mind. It tends to influence the decisions of managers/leaders.
For example, assigning a technology-focused project to a younger employee, assuming that the younger employee is the savior of the technology rather than the senior employee. This judgment is not supported by concrete facts. After all, some older employees follow trends and are just as tech savvy as the younger ones.
This explains that unconscious bias is unintentional and can be influenced by our culture, background, and even personal experiences.
How do unconscious biases affect the workplace?
The consequences of unconscious bias are dire for organizations. Some areas that can be affected include:
1: Recruitment process
It can affect the hiring process and the diversity goals of the workplace. HR managers will approach candidates based on criteria that have little to do with performance. To avoid this, some organizations prefer to work with the Denver Employee Recruitment Agency.
Negative subconscious grounds can drive employees away from work. They will be less motivated and will not come up with ideas. This can also affect your relationships with other co-workers.
Promoting employees on bias rather than merit tends to harm the entire organization. Leaving under-qualified employees to take on senior positions can create chaos. You can actually miss out on potential employees.
How to deal with unconscious bias?
Here are some ways to reduce your unconscious biases:
The first step in solving any problem is acknowledging it. So start by acknowledging that you are committing an unintended bias. The more you know, the better you can cope.
2: Understanding stereotypes
You and your employees need to understand what stereotypes mean because they are the basis of unintended bias.
Raise stereotype awareness and keep your team mindful of their perceptions and behaviors.
3: Stop and ponder
Most of the time, when we act fast, unintentional biases influence our decisions. Take it slow, my friend. Pause for a moment, think and act.
Before making a decision, ask yourself if I am biased. This practice will help you make decisions based on stereotypes that are in the best interest of the workplace without being unfair to anyone.
4: Be transparent
Be transparent about hiring and promotions so that these processes are not biased based on sexual orientation, age, race and other factors.
If your organization actively recruits people from diverse backgrounds, be transparent in the hiring and promotion process to earn employee trust.
5: Create an inclusive meeting
See who’s sitting next to you in the meeting and join them. Encourage all employees to interact and engage on an equal footing. Make sure all employees can hear you. At the same time, employees must respond positively to constructive comments when managers disagree.
6: Pay attention to certain characters
There are several characteristics that can be biased. This includes race, gender, disability, religion, age, fertility, etc.
7: Circle extension
If you continue to sit with the same people every day, you are more likely to develop biased behaviors. Spend time with people from different academic backgrounds and cultures to broaden your thinking and understand people from different backgrounds.
8: Don’t guess or trust your gut.
Assuming you know best, you could fall to the wrong conclusion. So instead of guessing, talk to others. Question.
It’s important to create a company culture where everyone on your team can speak up whenever they spot a bias.
For example, if you feel that your boss frequently assigns projects to male colleagues, talk to them.
10: Encourage anonymous complaints
Provide employees with a safe space to report concerns without fear of retaliation. A good example is allowing you to file complaints anonymously. Then, a strategy is developed to address the issues raised.
11: Training provided
All members of an organization are vulnerable to the effects of unintentional bias. Once you are able to deal with your own biases, it’s time to organize training sessions to help your teammates understand their biases, their types and impacts, how to find their foundation, and strategies for overcoming them.
12: Hold your employees accountable
This does not mean that you should be punished for making decisions based on unintentional bias. Rather, it means monitoring or observing their patterns and intervening whenever necessary.
13: Gather feedback
Don’t forget to include a racial bias question when asking your employees to fill out a survey. Also, by surveying your former employees, you can understand the problems they are facing and the steps they feel have helped you stay in the organization.
Reducing the negative impact of unconscious bias is not easy. It requires commitment, effective training, hard work and strong mitigation strategies. If you want a healthier balance sheet, reduced employee turnover, increased productivity, and increased employee satisfaction, you need to take specific steps to reduce the impact of unconscious bias.