Unconscious bias is a positive or negative mental attitude towards a person, thing or group that is held at an unconscious level. Bias is ordinary; it is not a moral failing. However, biases do have consequences; they disadvantage stereotyped groups.
Psychologists tell us that our unconscious biases are simply down to our natural people preferences. Biologically we are hard-wired to prefer people who look like us, sound like us and share our interests. This is known as social categorisation: a process in which we sort people into groups, a gravitation towards the 'safe' or familiar. In the workplace, this behaviour can lead to a tendency to recruit or favour people in our own image, rather than those who are more diverse.
We integrate unconscious bias awareness into wider HR initiatives to debias people-related processes themselves, particularly in relation to recruitment, career progression, development, and promotion. Our approach tackles conscious bias and structural bias alongside unconscious bias to disrupt the status quo; this includes tackling microaggressions.
What is unconscious bias and why does it matter?
Unconscious Bias – A guide
Alternative format: Unconscious Bias – a guide (Microsoft Word).
- Pearn Kandola webinar series – Combating bias: What really works
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