Reducing Workplace Bias
Our mind is a fascinating vessel for creating powerful connections and tying things together for easier accessibility. When faced with new circumstances or unfamiliar scenarios, it can quickly cling to widely accepted perceptions, norms, or stereotypes. As humans we desire familiarity, so when perceptions, norms, or stereotypes are combined with a need for familiarity, we can inadvertently cultivate unconscious bias, even if we believe that prejudice is wrong.
These prejudices and biases can manifest in different, even unrecognized ways: “For example, while search firms are not given ‘tall’ as a criteria for hiring a company’s CEO, (and less than 15 percent of American men are over six feet), almost 60 percent of male corporate CEOs are over six feet.” (Infopro Learning)
So how can we as an organization or even as a society reduce consciously reduce unconscious workplace bias? Here are some practical steps that your organization can start reducing workplace bias:
Remember that we are human.
We all are human beings and we all make mistakes. When we are aware that perfection is impossible, we are more likely to reduce generalizations or drawing stereotypical conclusions. The best way to ensure that we understand and process our observations and circumstances is by asking ourselves a few key questions.
These include addressing the situation and asking yourself:
- Is my opinion factually true?
- What evidence and facts do I have to support that?
When we greet others with an open and aware mindset, we are able to disengage any negative assumptions that may arise before we have a chance to step back and fully assess the situation.
Clearly communicate expectations.
Establish clear steps, practices, and criteria before making decisions within your organization. This helps to eliminate any bias in the decision-making process. Set clear goals and provide tangible steps for advocating against bias in the workspace.
Train your teams to communicate with transparency and open dialogue. This cultivates awareness and compels your teams to take action over passivity. This could look like having mentoring programs and benchmarking so that employees are continually aware of bias reduction best practices.
For the hiring process, this could include dual interviewing or establishing a diverse process that includes multiple avenues for candidates to get plugged into your organization.
Transparency encourages better relationships within your organization. Include your entire organization in the process of achieving your goals. This ensures that healthy communication is fostered within your environment.
To take a deeper look into tips on maintaining healthy organizational culture, head over to HIRENAMI for more.