We all have unconscious biases but if we allow them to cloud our judgement they can stifle good business. When recruitment is based on ‘fit’ and ‘shared values’, teams can quickly settle into groupthink that poses real threats to innovation and creativity. Unconsciously selecting people who ‘think like us’ can actually hold a business back and remove your competitive edge.
Because we are often unaware of our own biases, they can be difficult to address, but here are some things to consider:
- Accept that we all have unconscious biases and recognise the need for inclusive management in the workplace.
- Train and support employees to recognise bias and how they can overcome it in their decision making.
- Give women and people from underrepresented backgrounds a chance to shine through meaningful participation in meetings, challenging tasks and contribution to important decisions.
- Set targets for fair and objective promotions so that numbers moving up from one level to the next maintain the same ratio.
- Have a clear policy and culture that encourages people to speak out about bias and discrimination, and procedures to address it when it happens.
- Develop consistent procedures across the business to ensure that best practice is replicated.
- Listen to feedback, for example in exit interviews, to develop procedures that help understand why talented people may not reach their potential.
- Be accountable - when bias is identified ensure it is investigated and acted on.