Unconscious biases influence our everyday interactions and perceptions.
We all use our upbringing, experiences, and values to filter daily interactions and to make sense of our surroundings and environment. This is normal human behavior. At times, the filter is at work consciously, but the filter is also operating unconsciously. This is what we call unconscious bias.
Unconscious biases are learned stereotypes that are automatic, unintentional, deeply engrained, universal, and able to influence behavior.
While these can be perfectly normal and harmless (for example, picking Coke over Pepsi), if unchecked it can cause real problems, particularly in business.
- Do you tend to favor those whose names are more familiar to you?
- Do you prefer to hire people from your alma mater or Ivy League schools only?
- Would you screen George’s resume above Jorge’s resume if they had the same qualifications?
In the workplace, unconscious bias can affect hiring, promotions, evaluations, dismissals, customer service, sales, revenue, profits – and in the healthcare sector – even patient care and safety.
For example, Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan found that traditionally White sounding names received 50% more callbacks for interviews than African-American sounding names.
If issues like this are not addressed, individual unconscious bias can unknowingly create organizational bias and a lack of employee and thought diversity.
In turn, this can quickly result in a company culture of unconscious bias and accidental discrimination.
What can be done?
When it comes to building awareness about unconscious bias in your organization, Insource can help. We take diversity seriously and offer training to help combat bias.
Our training approach is interactive. We strive to help others identify and mitigate unhealthy unconscious bias in their organization, improve team relationships and perhaps morale, as well as begin to address issues with diversity in the workforce including policies, procedures, recruiting and hiring.
Have questions on this or other training topics we offer? We are here to help! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 235-1490.