Last month, we examined implicit (or unconscious) bias on a broad scale and how it comes into play in our day-to-day life. This month, we’re taking a look at implicit bias in the workplace and its impact. And no question about it, the impact can be vast – and costly for businesses. From impairing diversity and retention rates to undermining recruiting efforts and employee morale, the effects of implicit biases are widespread and should not be ignored.
An implicit bias is an unconscious association, belief, or attitude toward any social group. Due to these biases, people may often associate certain characteristics or qualities to all members of a particular group (stereotyping). There are all types of implicit biases, but some are more relevant to the workplace. Here are a few examples:
- Affinity bias: the tendency to prefer people who appear similar to ourselves
- Perception bias: the tendency to form stereotypes and assumptions about certain groups, thus preventing objectivity and lumping all individuals with their group membership
- Confirmation bias: the tendency to try to confirm pre-existing beliefs and ignore information that doesn’t conform to these beliefs
So, what can be done to combat implicit bias in the workplace? One of the most important steps is building bias awareness. For people unfamiliar with implicit bias, it can be a tough concept to fully understand and admit that it exists in their office. By building awareness and making the decision-making process more mindful, employees are less likely to lean on mental shortcuts when it comes to evaluating performance, nominating people for promotions or hiring new workers.
Leah M Joppy and Associates regularly conducts training to address and combat implicit bias in the workplace. We work with your organization to set actual, tangible goals to measure the success of the program. Training is beneficial for all employees, but is particularly helpful for those in leadership positions, as their unconscious biases can impact hiring, promotions and performance evaluations. It’s an important topic that your organization can’t afford to ignore. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.