Rue Itzinger

Sep 11 2020

Unconscious Bias in the workplace

three people sitting in front of table laughing together

Unconscious bias is everywhere. Without us really knowing, we all hold preconceptions and stereotypes both in our personal and professional life. But by being aware of these unconscious biases, we can act to make sure none of us are held back in our careers.

Unconscious biases are formed without us even realising it, by our upbringing and our surroundings. They can affect our interactions with people in the workplace. This biases could be anything, from beauty bias (favouring those how are more physically attractive) or confirmation bias (essentially making your mind up about someone and only taking on information that confirms that opinion) to gender bias (treating someone based on their gender).

Unconscious bias is everywhere and everyone has it. But with this knowledge, there’s a few things you can do to limit the impact of your unconscious biases in the workplace:

Stop before you act. Before you make any big decisions, take a moment to consider whether unconscious bias might be playing a role in a situation. Is it clouding your judgement?

Share with your team. If you have a concern about something, sharing this with others will help you to judge whether or not your unconscious bias is playing a role. If others feel a similar way to you, that will help to guide your judgement. If you’re struggling to get along with a colleague, try talking it through – most of the time we struggle to notice our unconscious bias, so raising an issue with someone so they know next time might be a good idea.

Seek out training. Your HR department will be able to offer guidance and hopefully further training opportunities to help you manage your unconscious bias.

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