Unconscious Bias At Work – We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

24 April 2024 in BLOG

Unconscious Bias At Work – We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

This week I have been working with a global company to identify how and why understanding unconscious bias is an important part of business life in 2024.

In the room were Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, French, Welsh and English delegates and interestingly, the different nationalities in the room seemed to take a very different approach to the subject. However everyone agreed it was a really important part of enhancing and improving the working environment we all had a slightly different starting point.

The important thing to remember is Unconscious Bias is about more than discrimination, prejudice and/or stereotyping for instance.

It’s about those deep rooted short cuts our brains make to process information quickly and these are formed from the environment and life events we have experienced.

So why does this matter in the workplace?

Promotes Diversity and Inclusion

Unconscious biases can lead us to unintentional discrimination against certain groups of people so, by recognising and addressing these biases we can create a more inclusive space where all individuals feel valued and respected.

Improves Decision Making

Unconscious biases can influence hiring, promotion, and performance decisions we make which can lead to unfair practice. Awareness of unconscious biases can help us make more objective and fair decisions based on merit and qualifications rather than our own personal biases.

Enhances Team Collaboration

Unconscious biases can negatively impact team dynamics by creating misunderstandings and conflict among team members. By facilitating awareness and understanding of biases we can collaborate more effectively and make sure everyone is able and allowed to contribute based on the strengths and perspectives of all members.

Boosts Employee Engagement and Morale

We are more likely to be engaged and satisfied in our roles when we feel we are treated fairly and equitably. Addressing unconscious biases contributes to a positive workplace culture, which as a result leads to higher levels of morale and productivity.

Reduces Legal Risks

Unchecked unconscious bias can cause discriminatory practices which in turn can result in grievance and legal challenges. By proactively exploring and mitigating these biases, we can help to reduce issues and maintain a positive reputation.

Encourages Personal Growth and Development

Taking time to reflect on our unconscious biases can help to change our beliefs and behaviors. Improved self-awareness and empathy are essential if we want to build and maintain harmonious and productive relationships.

I wonder when was the last time you discussed unconscious bias with your team. Are you able to identify the different types of unconscious bias, for instance? Do your team think only about the characteristics protected under the Equality Act instead of those wider elements?

Get in touch for an informal chat to find out more.



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