When workplaces lack diversity, it is often a result of unconscious bias. While unconscious bias is very rarely intentionally harmful (hence the “unconscious” part), it can create an environment lacking in equity and inclusion.
Preventing unconscious bias is 100 percent possible, but in order to do so, you need to recognize it first and understand how it affects your decision-making.
Examples of Unconscious Bias
Unconscious bias can play out in a variety of scenarios. Below are some examples of the most common biases that people have:
- Affinity bias – Preferring a candidate because they have similar interests, hobbies, or opinions to you or the rest of the team.
- Confirmation bias – Forming an opinion based on a candidate’s resume, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy during the interview process.
- Halo and horns bias – Judging a candidate based on where they went to school or a previous workplace. Halo refers to “impressive” universities and workplaces while horns are the opposite.
There are dozens of other biases that can come into play during the resume review and interview process, but these are three of the most common.
1. Learn and Understand Your Own Unconscious Biases
Everyone has unconscious biases. They are often deeply ingrained by society and the ways that we interact with the systems around us. The important thing is to recognize your biases and understand how to overcome them. It can take time and you may not catch them every time at first, but knowing that they are present is a critical first step.
Take some time to read up on the biases that exist and decide which ones affect your decision-making processes the most. Some may surprise you. If you are in a leadership position, encourage your colleagues to do the same.
2. Run Job Descriptions by More People
Did you know that the wording in job descriptions can sometimes discourage people from applying? Having multiple team members read through job descriptions and provide feedback can make positions feel more accessible, creating a larger hiring pool.
Make sure to have your human resources (HR) manager approve the wording before posting, as well, to prevent any legal issues.
3. Conduct Blind Resume Reviews
In the past few years, software for blind resume reviews has become more prevalent and popular. This software hides the name of candidates, helping to prevent gender, age, and race biases. Sometimes something as simple as a person’s name can result in a hiring manager putting the resume aside without further consideration.
Along with blind resume reviews to prevent unconscious bias, conducting multiple rounds of interviews with interviewers providing feedback separately can give a more rounded view of the candidate.
4. Add Checks and Balances to Your Processes
All human resources processes from hiring to yearly reviews should include a check and balance system. When systems like these are put in place, it can help all employees avoid or safely call out unconscious bias.
Is your organization looking for more ways to prevent unconscious bias in the workplace? Applied Development can help. Our team of diversity, equity, and inclusion experts will review your current processes and help you develop new ones that benefit your entire organization.