What Is Unconscious Bias In The Workplace?

Unconscious biases in the workplace shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, it’s the one thing that causes us to make decisions in favor of group versus another. If women face unconscious bias it is easy to see how aspects in the workplace can favor men. Studies have shown that it affects hiring decisions, salaries, and ultimately, career advantages. Women face enough challenges in the workforce and unconscious bias, ultimately, is just another source of stress and pressure.

How is unconscious bias different from blatant discrimination? Research in social psychology shows that people are able to control their unconscious biases. However, HR professionals also can help organizations uncover and combat unconscious bias and its effects in the workplace by:

  • Providing awareness training
  • Creating structures
  • Labeling the types of bias that are likely to occur.

Unconscious bias, if left unchecked, can turn to discrimination. We all have unconscious biases and by providing awareness training, employees are given the opportunity to learn more about it. It also teaches them how recognize them and how to combat them in daily decision-making. Awareness training can also create an organizational conversation about what biases exist within the company and what steps the company can take towards minimizing them. Labeling them is also important because it brings them to the forefront and the conscious level, leaders and employees will have an increased level of awareness and how it affects decision-making processes, hiring, promotions, compensation, and organizational culture. Creating structures allows for more deliberative actions and provide opportunities to point out ways for peers to point out ways bias may be seeping in.

So, what happens when organizations are not successful in preventing unconscious bias? What structures are in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace? We are here to answer all of those questions. Email us today to learn more about how we can offer training for you and your organization surrounding unconscious biases.

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