Thursday, July 28, 2016

HR Must Work Hard to Root Out Unconscious Bias - BNA

by Genevieve Douglas
Originally published: July 26, 2016

 Unconscious bias exists in big and small ways in many workplaces, but there are strategies HR can implement to ensure that each employment decision is fair, diversity practitioners told Bloomberg BNA July 20.

Unconscious biases are prejudices people have but are unaware of. They may be based on skin color, gender, age, height, weight, introversion versus extroversion, marital and parental status, disability status, foreign accents or even where someone went to college.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if unconscious bias is rampant in a workplace, it can result in discriminatory treatment or practices, a flawed “meritocracy” system and a lack of workforce diversity.

To prevent unconscious bias from playing out in the workplace, human resources departments should make sure the right people are making employment decisions and judgements, Peter Linkow, founder and chief executive of Wellesley, Mass.-based Lead Diversity, told Bloomberg BNA. If these decision makers are more diverse and more experienced, they make better judgements, he said.