Building and developing a diverse and inclusive workplace is the goal for conscious leadership and organization. It is the secret to thriving in a competitive industry. But the reality is, there are still plenty of unconscious biases that pervade the workplace. This unconscious bias can make certain individuals or groups of individuals alienated, which is contradictory to the goal of conscious leadership and organization.
In this guide, we will take a closer look at unconscious bias example and find out ways to eliminate them in the workplace.
What is Unconscious Bias?
A forward-thinking organization is one that strives to be inclusive, innovative, and diverse. There are more studies that show a more diverse group outperforms a homogenous group. Diversity in the workforce delivers superior collective intelligence and their varying backgrounds make them better suited to solve problems or make better decisions that impact the organization positively.
On the other hand, unconscious bias is when there exist social stereotypes within the workplace. This is when certain groups of people form an aversion towards other groups whose beliefs or conscious awareness are different from their own. As a result, unconscious bias forces one to put people into certain social categories.
The sad reality is that most people who have implicit bias are unaware of what they are doing; hence, the name unconscious bias. To help your organization move forward and succeed as one unit, it is important to set these biases aside.
Unconscious Bias Examples and Ways to Avoid Them
If you are ready to set your biases aside, it is important to first learn from the unconscious bias examples listed here. This will open your eyes to the possible biases that you might practice in the workplace. Awareness is the first step to overcoming these biases and being more effective in working together as a team.
1. Gender Bias
In this list of unconscious bias examples, this is probably the most common and most talked about. It is no secret that women have, for centuries, sought equality with men in terms of work opportunities. In addition, the positive characteristics in men, such as leadership and confidence, can be viewed negatively when portrayed by a woman (bossy and arrogant).
2. Affinity Bias
Affinity bias is when your organization hires to fit a specific “culture” within the workplace. For example, you prefer to hire someone who you believe has a shared background and interests with the rest of the team over someone else who might be more qualified (simply because they don’t fit your culture). Similarities should never be used as a deciding factor for including (or excluding) someone in the workplace.
3. Confirmation Bias
This type of unconscious bias example is based on the initial opinion you might have formed of an individual, judging only on where they are from or their name. This bias that already exists in your mind can influence your decision to hire someone, especially when you are stuck on the initial opinion or perception that you have towards that individual.
4. Conformity Bias
When the majority of the organization holds a particular opinion, it is pretty common for certain individuals to be swayed to share that opinion (even if they do not necessarily agree with it) just to conform with the group. This can be a problem, because just because the majority believes in one thing, it does not always mean they are right. This can create a conflict in the work environment when there are individuals who refuse to include or accept those who do not share the majority’s opinion.
5. The Halo Effect
This type of bias is when you attribute the overall characteristic of an individual based on one positive trait that is known to you, or based on a single event or encounter with them. The term halo refers to creating an umbrella effect of one trait to generalize the overall characteristic or potential of that individual.
It is important to be objective and fair when assessing the performance of every individual. This will enable you to find the ideal fit for your team or a given project based on their skills and capacity.
Aside from gender, certain individuals can also be victims of prejudice in the workplace based on their age. This is very common among those who are older, such as aged 40 to 50. A lot of workers aged 45 and above report being discriminated against in the workplace, or during the hiring process. This must be addressed in the organization, because you could lose out on potential knowledge and experience that someone older might offer to the team.
7. Name Bias
Name bias is very common during the hiring process. A lot of recruitment managers will form an opinion about certain candidates based on their name alone, which can be dangerous as it can influence their hiring decision without accounting for the person’s skills and experience.
You can overcome this bias by using a software to filter out names and personal information when hiring, allowing you to focus on skills and work experience.
8. Beauty Bias
Last but not least, beauty bias can work out two ways. First, it can put those who have a certain “beauty” at an advantage over more qualified individuals in the workplace. Or, it can also impact an individual negatively, such as being stereotyped as dumb or incompetent, forcing them to rely only on their looks for career advancement.
You can overcome beauty bias by removing pictures from resumes when hiring, or using an objective system for designating promotions and opportunities to team members.
The list of unconscious bias examples above covers only the most common biases. These can be overcome by setting diversity hiring goals in order to hold the hiring team accountable for ensuring that none of these biases pervade the hiring process or in retaining talent. Developing a culture of inclusivity is important where merit and performance are prioritized over judgment and opinion.
Unconscious bias refers to biases and prejudices individuals hold without conscious awareness. Examples include affinity bias, confirmation bias, and halo effect.
Unconscious bias can be avoided by increasing awareness through training, practicing mindfulness, challenging stereotypes, using objective criteria, and fostering inclusivity.
The five common types of unconscious biases are affinity bias (favoring people like oneself), confirmation bias (seeking information that confirms existing beliefs), halo effect (making generalizations based on a single positive trait), availability bias (relying on readily available information), and attribution bias (making assumptions based on limited information).