This is just one example of the new workplace bias.
Bias Goes from Conscious to Unconscious
Bill Shackelford is the president of diversity consulting firm IEC Enterprises and the author of Minority Recruiting: Building the Strategies and Relationships for Effective Diversity Recruiting. In his article for Workforce Diversity Network, Shackelford says an understanding of how bias creeps into today’s enlightened workplace starts with an expanded definition, which is:
Bias: “Intentional and unintentional, conscious and subconscious, attitudes, behaviors and actions that have a negative and differential impact on segments of the society, or favor one segment of the society.”
As Shackelford points out, most employers have adopted fair employment practices designed to manage the classic forms of bias (i.e., intentional and conscious). Examples of intentional and conscious bias would be actions designed to intentionally discriminate against individuals because of their race, gender or ethnicity. Refusing to hire people because of their race or promote people because of their gender are classic examples from the past.
But today’s most common forms of bias are more subtle, as in the case listed above. Decisions to hire and promote are often not based solely on the qualifications of the candidates, but are influenced by subjective criteria. When these subjective criteria relate to fixed diversity dimensions (race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.), the resulting decision is inherently biased.
Learn to combat unconscious bias over at the AMEX Open Forum.