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Implicit or unconscious bias happens by our brains making incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realising. Our biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences. We may not even be aware of these views and opinions, or be aware of their full impact and implications.
Our unconscious brain works millions of times faster and processes and absorbs things throughout our lifetime that we are not aware of – hence sometimes with our thought process these thoughts might jump to the front of our minds first – so fast that we make decisions unconsciously before the “logical front part of brain” can process it to make the conscious decision.
Unconscious bias in the workplace can have a significant impact on recruitment, delegation of tasks / projects, during performance reviews and when selecting employees for development and progression. If employees start to suspect that is the case, or are just suffering the consequences of your unwitting discrimination, it can lead to mistrust, lowered morale and an increased likelihood of good people leaving the business.
Therefore, it is important that managers and leaders are aware of the impact discrimination has within the workplace and strive to lead a culture of inclusion and equality.
Training is incredibly effective by helping to raise awareness about how the brain is programmed. It helps people understand it’s not our fault that we think the way we do it’s how we have been programmed, and we can THINK BEFORE WE SPEAK OR REACT and try and stop the unconscious bias taking over.
By unpacking some of the bias that we all hold in a logical way e.g. why did I take an instant dislike to that person? Why do I associate laziness with people who look like this…etc we start to see that the instant thoughts we think are often wrong and were based on information we perhaps took in years ago about someone completely unrelated.
Diversity across a workforce/team can have many benefits to how we operate including increased adaptability, greater innovation, improved morale and higher levels of customer service. Just because our brains are programmed to be biased, doesn’t mean we can’t teach our teams and each other how to recognise when it is our unconscious brain doing the thinking and acting rather than us as humans choosing to think logically before speaking or acting.
By Maguire Training
Age Inclusive employers play a leading role in changing attitudes for the better and challenging age discrimination. They are changing behaviour and cultures in their own businesses, networks and communities, and reaping the benefits of inclusive recruitment practices.
Here at 55/Redefined, we offer an Age Inclusive Accredited Employer scheme that helps employers recruit and retain great people, and: