Bias in the Workplace

Simply put, if you have a brain, you have bias. Your inherent bias is neither good nor bad — it develops without your knowledge — and you can overcome it when you commit to doing so. That’s why the NeuroLeadership Institute is committed to equipping professionals in the workplace with the strategies necessary to combat bias at every turn. 

5 Different Types of Bias in the Workplace

Strangely enough, bias serves as an adaptive process designed to help humans make informed decisions based on their prior knowledge and experiences. Cognitive scientists have identified roughly 150 biases that people experience every day. At NLI, we’ve developed the SEEDS model to simplify them down to five key categories: 

  1. Similarity: When individuals have traits similar to ours, we are more likely to see them favorably. 
  2. Expedience: Individuals tend to rush to conclusions to minimize cognitive effort.
  3. Experience: People are predisposed to believe that their understanding of the world is more accurate than anyone else’s perspective.
  4. Distance: Individuals tend to assign greater value to what is closer than what is further away. 
  5. Safety: Humans are more likely to over-account for negative outcomes than positive ones, which prevents us from taking risks.
team collaborating at work

How Unconscious Bias Impacts Decision Making 

Many unconscious biases prevent us from making the best possible decisions regarding both business and relationships. Unconscious bias in the workplace can impact our decision-making in the following ways. It can:

  • Create “in-groups” and “outgroups” that cause us to favor candidates similar to us and be skeptical or negative of those in the outgroup.
  • Cause us to rush to judgments without full consideration or seeking out more information on a topic .
  • Overlook important aspects of a project or initiative because we assume our given situation constitutes the whole truth.
  • Over prioritize that which is closest to us in time, space or other domains and otherwise disregard important priorities.
  • Play it overly safe and consequently slow down decision-making and prevent taking advantage of great opportunities due to their risks.

3 Steps to Reducing the Effects of Bias in the Workplace

Thankfully, combating bias is easier than many people think. At the Neuroleadership Institute, we teach businesses to transform their workplace with the following three habits: 

  1. Accepting: By accepting that bias is an inevitable aspect of the human condition, we can better move past our biases and make changes. 
  2. Labeling: Adopting shared language about bias allows individuals and organizations to address and call out implicit bias in the workplace. 
  3. Mitigate: Only after you have accepted bias and adopted a common language can you target the causes of biases and mitigate their adverse effects within your workplace.
team collaborating with tablets

Mitigate Bias in the Workplace With the NeuroLeadership Institute

The NeuroLeadership Institute is dedicated to making organizations more human through science. We help businesses mitigate bias in their workforce with the following initiatives.

Empower Your Team

Tackle unconscious bias by removing it from the decision-making process to make the best choices possible. 

Develop a Common Language

Your team will have the understanding and common language necessary to stop bias before it starts. 

Build Shared Habits

With shared habits and the use of the SEEDS Model®, your workplace can accept, label and mitigate bias. 

Engage Your People

By taking a proactive and intentional stance toward mitigating biases, you can build more insightful teams, eliminate groupthink and get rid of your organization’s blind spots. 

DECIDE helps our clients improve their decision-making processes and mitigate various types of cognitive bias. To learn more about how we can help your workplace tackle bias, contact us online.

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