When you meet someone for the first time, you can make assumptions about them based on the way they look, dress or act. This is because we are influenced by our background, experiences and beliefs which impact how we see things, the choices that we make, how we interact with others and how we react to things, without us even realising it – unconsciously!
These reactions are indicators of unconscious bias and they affect all of us every day. It’s nothing to feel bad about; it’s completely natural, and for the most part it doesn’t impact on the things we do, but it’s not always the best way to make decisions. The most important thing you can do is remember that if you have a bias, question your feelings, thoughts and decisions. Particularly if, because of the bias, you might be treating an individual or group more or less favourably.
- Favouring people who share similar, interests, backgrounds and experiences
- Favouring individuals who are considered to be more attractive
- Making assumptions about people because of the origin of their name
- Treating people less favourably because of their age
- Treating people less favourably because of their gender
Our unconscious bias can affect decisions that we make both inside and outside of work, such as deciding who to make job offers to and who to get involved in particular events or tasks.