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Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) were one of the top five priorities for companies, as they stated in 2021. Even with this shift towards a more inclusive workplace, companies still seem to lack awareness of bias in their organization.

It’s important to note that bias is not the same as racism. Unconscious bias refers to a stereotype, belief, or attitude that unconsciously affects our actions or understanding. While racism refers to the belief that a particular group of people are better than others based on certain characteristics. When talking about bias and racism in the workplace we often hear the words “white privilege” and “white supremacy”, they are often used interchangeably but they have completely different meanings. “White privilege” is the unconscious “gift” that white people are given, while “white supremacy” is the belief that white people are superior to other races. Understanding the differences between these terms will help you facilitate more meaningful conversations around DEI.

So, what are the different kinds of unconscious bias, and how can you tackle it in your organization? There are many types of bias; here are a few of the most common that you may encounter.

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias is the tendency to seek out, interpret, or favor information that confirms your prior beliefs/biases.

Affinity Bias

Affinity Bias, also known as the similarity bias, refers to the tendency to connect with people like us. It’s when we unconsciously gravitate towards a particular group of people, whether it’s looks, religion, experiences, etc., that connects us.

Perception Bias

Perception Bias is the tendency to make broad assumptions or stereotypes about a certain group of people.

Conformity Bias

Conformity Bias happens when we conform to the majority rather than using our own opinion and judgment.

Age & Gender Bias

Age & Gender Bias refers to the tendency to negatively view someone based on their age and/or gender.

Addressing unconscious bias in your organization is not a simple task. It may be challenging to recognize and accept that you have some biases. Promoting a workplace that accepts and celebrates diversity is the first step. Educating employees on the different types of biases and how to recognize them, reviewing HR practices for any biases, and investing in DEI training for the company are just a few ways to begin addressing unconscious bias in the workplace.


Need help identifying and addressing unconscious bias in your organization? Let’s talk, schedule a free consultation now.


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