What Is Unconscious Bias?

An unconscious bias is a belief, prejudice or stereotype that a person holds without realizing it.

What Is Unconscious Bias at Work?

Unconscious biases in the workplace include:

  • Affinity bias, or similarity bias: the belief that a person will perform well because they have a similar personality to the rest of the team, for example.
  • Ageism: the tendency to have negative apprehensions about working with an older person.
  • Expectation bias: finding that candidates ask for salaries that are too high in relation to what the company would like to offer, for example.
  • Attribution bias: expecting an employee to always act in a certain way because of early judgment.
  • Authority bias: giving greater weight to the opinion of someone in a position of authority.
  • Beauty bias: judging a person’s competence and performance on the basis of their physical appearance.
  • Conformity bias: the tendency to act in the same way as others because of social pressure.
  • Gender bias: prejudice against women or men.
  • The halo effect: the tendency to admire someone because of one of their achievements.
  • Size bias: the tendency to value people according to their size.
  • Confirmation bias: the tendency to seek out and use information that confirms our opinions and expectations.

What Are the Most Common Unconscious Biases?

The most common unconscious biases include:

  • Bias towards one’s own aptitudes and abilities
  • Bias towards others’ differences: age, gender, origin, name, etc
  • Bias towards the behavior of others
  • Bias towards physical appearance

What Is the Impact of Unconscious Bias at Work?

The impacts of unconscious bias in the workplace are numerous. They can include:

  • Discrimination
  • Missed opportunities
  • Decreased self-confidence
  • Decreased performance
  • Inability to achieve certain goals
  • Creation of a toxic work environment

How to Reduce Unconscious Biases in the Workplace?

Strategies to reduce the impact of unconscious bias at work include:

  • Encouraging introspection among employees
  • Offering awareness training
  • Creating an open and transparent work environment
  • Encouraging discussions of unconscious biases
  • Promoting diversity within a company by updating recruitment processes

What Are the Different Types of Bias?

The different types of bias include:

  • Opportunity bias: making decisions as quickly as possible without taking the time to analyze all the relevant information.
  • Similarity bias: choosing things that are similar or familiar to us.
  • Experience bias: making decisions based solely on personal experience.
  • Distance bias: favoring things that are close to our reality.
  • Safety bias: avoiding risk-taking in favor of success.

What Are Some Examples of Unconscious Bias?

Examples of unconscious bias include:

  • Rejecting resumes from people with names from other countries
  • Offering a lower salary to someone from a visible minority
  • Giving less weight to the opinion of certain people because of their origin or gender

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