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what is unconscious bias? As astonishing as it might sound to you, we all are somewhat biased. People can be biased against certain genders, religions, races, sexual orientations, and political leanings—just about anything can be a source of bias. However, being biased isn’t something to feel, especially remorseful about. Biases often are formed due to figuring out talk about our immediate environment based on the people we have mingled with and the nature of events and occurrences that we have experienced.
It’s something that all humans do. Biases turn into a problem when they are utilized as a way or reason to keep individuals oppressed or unable to better themselves. Using one’s own bias to judge an entire group of people can be problematic and limiting. Since bias is quite a wide issue across different societies, this article will be centered exclusively on its impact in the workplace. We should initially examine what the meaning of bias is and where it comes from.
As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, Bias is “the tendency or the possibility of supporting an individual or people against another set of people such that unjustly prevent them from getting what is due to them.”
WHAT CAUSES BIAS IN HUMANS?
Bias in all humans is formed by interactions with our families, companions, and people in our networks. These interactions form the way we see and relate to our immediate environment. The kind of people we mingle with helps us form the convictions that determine how we relate with people we come across in life. If your circle of close friends, culture, religion, or social status, for instance, feels that anyone different from you isn’t worth your time, that can pose a problem when interacting with others.
However, being biased isn’t the main problem here. As stated earlier, the problem starts when we neglect to do the right things to the extent that our biases always influence and obscure how we see the individuals we encounter in our everyday lives. We must always treat individuals equally. Everyone should be allowed to do whatever makes them happy so long as it doesn’t affect their performance and delivery at the place of work.
HOW IS IT AFFECTING YOUR WORKPLACE?
The majority of us invest most of our energy in our workplace. It is also a widely accepted fact that our work surroundings are where we will probably come into contact with various individuals. This means that our workplaces are places where it is essential to be aware of our biases. At work and during the recruitment processes, promotion strategies and task assignment stages require bias control. This could spell doom for the organization if not properly handled.
Even things as basic as who gets fired or retained are largely overflowing with possible bias opportunities. An example of this can be seen in individuals that are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Such persons may be treated unjustly based on their lifestyle, even if they are the most productive staff members in the organization. Such treatment would influence how these individuals feel, see themselves, and perceive the organization.
This can, in turn, cause low efficiency, disdain, and inevitable flight. Moreover, the consequences of making a person feel insecure in their own body are immeasurable. In an equitable and unbiased reality, this individual may have contributed enormously to positive results for customers, the organization, and society overall, paying little mind to their sexual orientation.
Another illustration of bias includes the treatment of Muslims, who, as of now, experience serious bias across the world. The horrible tragedy of 11/09/2001 in the U.S. was asserted by fear mongers who see them as a demonstration made by apparently “ardent Muslims” as a feature of a “jihad” or “Holy War.” Because of this very grievous act, many Muslims are seen as the enemy in the U.S. and abroad, and violent, terroristic acts are seen as tents of the Islamic faith. This bias is significant since it is so far-reaching.
Many people do not take the time to understand the genuine teachings of Islam. A few associations are so biased that anybody of a divergent conviction can never develop past specific posts in their association. With a legitimate comprehension of genuine Islamic tenets and teachings, a ton of negative bias against Muslims could be nullified. People could discover a new respect for those of the Islamic faith and treat more people as they should be treated. This is significant concerning the workplace for a few reasons. Above all else, to perceive and work to end this cultural bias demonstrates an organization’s values of congruity, teamwork, and profitability.
Diversity should be the watchword in every workplace. Diversity energizes cultural incorporation. This methodology includes everybody’s abilities, paying little heed to their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other bias-inducing traits, as well as strict adherence to rewarding and hiring people based on merit. An organization would do well to avoid looking like they “play favorites” and give special recognition based on specific qualities instead of merits.
This happened in the U.S., where young and middle-aged Americans of specific races, genders, sexual orientations, or countries of origin were deliberately bypassed for top administrative roles and duties in favor of old, white Caucasians. Those people were not necessarily more capable, talented, or highly trained than younger Americans. By introducing Affirmative Action, this trend was quickly reversed. Affirmative Action encourages organizations to have a diverse staff by implementing a program that increases the number of people from underserved groups working there.
Concerning bias in the workplace, this program guarantees open doors for people that have been oppressed for quite a long time. Biases usually find their origin from the deliberate hiding of facts, which then snowballs into the unfair treatment of some people. Diversity is a potent tool needed to tackle unnecessary, systemic bias against innocent persons based on their outward appearance or beliefs. From a purely economic standpoint, this social ill is threatening to rob organizations of their maximum productivity. Affirmative Action is a policy designed to cater to those who have been left neglected for too long at various workplaces and to instill sanity into the system.
On an ending note, it is uncommon to work at a place and not experience some systemic bias; a large portion of us have experienced it before. As I said earlier, being biased isn’t something awful. It is an innate human instinct. It has a profoundly negative impact when we permit it to influence how we see other people who might be more suited for a specific work. We decide to neglect them due to some sentimental bias towards them based on appearances or beliefs.
It is crucial for us all that we try to be aware of our lives’ places and parts where our biases may be harmful. It will benefit both personally and the organization if our differences are respected and used to achieve the best results through teamwork and full cooperation. It’s important to have a hand on deck to hit your target optimally; otherwise, frustration might set in.