The term Unconscious Bias is becoming more common as we strive towards a Diverse and Inclusive workplace, but what does it mean?
Unconscious Biases are things that we all have, they are unintentional stereotypes that are ingrained within us and have the ability to affect our behavior. Although often inadvertent and innocent, they can be the biggest block to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.
The stats don't lie when it comes to how this can benefit an organization. Forbes talks of how companies with more culturally and ethnically diverse executive teams are 33% more likely to see above-average profits - and at board level, this goes up to 43%!
So what are the types of unconscious bias? Here's Virgin.com's helpful rundown of the most common types, without realizing I bet a few of us are already guilty of them.
Affinity bias: A tendency to warm to people who are most like yourself
Halo effect: An inclination to think everything is good about a person because you like
Perception bias: A tendency to believe something about a group of people based on assumptions and stereotypes
Confirmation bias: A tendency to seek to confirm your pre-existing thoughts and assumptions about a group of people
Groupthink: An inclination to trying hard to fit into an existing culture, matching other's thoughts and opinions
Recruitment processes can often be disrupted by these unconscious biases, and most often this happens unintentionally! So how can you avoid this happening in your recruitment process?
1. Recognize them
Begin with reflecting on what biases you may have, question what you thought and why that was. Harvard University has carried out research into unconscious bias and has released the Implicit Association Test to help people identify their biases.
2. Focus on people individually
Rather than focusing on someone's characteristics, or the stereotypes they may fall into, think of them individually. Don't think about what you are expecting from them, these will be based on your unconscious biases.
3. Increase your exposure
After you've recognized what your biases are, try increasing your exposure to them so you can prove them wrong and shift your behavior over time.
If you would like help with your recruitment process please get in touch here!
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