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The Old Hiring Bias: Laziness

Have you ever heard of lazy bias? I bet you haven’t because the term was coined by our President specifically for hospitality. When you look at leadership teams and see that they’re all male and all white, racism and bias have to be the reason. Right?

When you know people, laziness bias seems unreal.
Nothing to worry about here. I know someone. Hiring bias is real. So is laziness bias.


Hospitality is lazy when it comes to hiring. So lazy. Oftentimes, it has nothing to do with race or gender but everything to do with operational gaps and service delivery. Remember, this is an industry where bussers have worked their way up to the C-suite. #truestory

But what happens, and why is diversity such an issue at the top? Sure, it could be racism. It could also be misogony. But it’s most likely to be laziness bias. 

Rooms taking too long to get cleaned fast (or thoroughly) can result in numerous negative impacts, such as customer complaints, which affects overall hotel satisfaction, which affects the number of new (and return) hotel nights booked and so on. 

Wait times in a restaurant because a server has to cover two or three sections, means people get up and leave. Average checks are down, service is lacking, and employees burn out, stop caring, etc. 

Then desperation seeps in as it becomes less about the best candidate to ANY candidate. So we ask people we know, who they know and if they need a job. If the person has a heartbeat, they’re hired! Waiting on HR to post a job, research, recruit, interview, verify employment and references AND onboard while service is suffering means revenue is also suffering and that just won’t work. 

Laziness bias is a “recruiting” strategy (but really just a hiring bias). We’re too lazy to follow the proper channels and to risk someone not knowing what they’re doing (that’s the bias part). So we go with people who know people we know and keep that cycle going. 

Following that same logic, as management and leadership roles open, we tap those same people who show up and do the work and promote them through the company. OR we take them with us when we move on. And there you have it (well, a version of it). It happens all the time, and if you are or have been in hospitality, you know what I’m talking about. 

The next time you feel inclined to ask a leader if they’re racist because of their leadership makeup…pause. Instead, ask them if they’re just lazy and introduce them to lazy bias. 

Diversity and inclusion require intention, meaning we must slow down long enough to examine our businesses, our customers and our communities and prioritize those over our need to “quickly” fix it. 

If we learned nothing from COVID, burnout is real. And burnout is really bad for business. Don’t take this as an excuse to just start hiring people of color like so many have. That’s woke, and we’re better than that.

Be intentional. Stop rushing and take an anti-woke approach. 


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