Various Forms of Biases in the Workplace


During the month of March we extensively covered the challenges women face in the workplace, namely those that fall under the gender biases that are still going strong in the hiring process, the distribution of responsibilities, and promotion opportunities. But gender bias is just one widespread infraction of workers rights. in This week we’ll be looking at the various other forms of biases found in companies today, there’s a lot of them unfortunately, and it’s essential to address each one in order to provide an equitable workplace for employees.


Common forms of biases in the workplace


  1. Ageism. Wow is this an issue. The result of viewpoints (such as the belief that young people are more innovative than experienced workers) contribute to this unfortunate phenomenon in which older applicants are passed over simply due to their age.
  2. Weight bias. This is not often talked about but incredibly prevalent. The size of individuals is often scrutinized and prejudiced against in the workplace, from hiring to promotion. In fact, larger individuals have consistently made a lower salary than their smaller colleagues, even when duties and experience are the same.
  3. Conformity bias. This bias occurs as the result of employees feeling they must suppress differing opinion and/or ideas in order to fit in with the group. It eventually spirals into a workplace where limited approaches to ideas are acceptable. Similar to affinity bias, in which management tends to hire/promote individuals with similar viewpoints to their won, they eventually create an environment which becomes hostile to innovation.
  4. Confirmation bias. Sounds similar to conformity bias but this is a bias that is happening when management and staff activity looks for opinions/solutions that confirm an idea/opinion already possessed.
  5. Name bias. At times a name can suggest something about a person’s background, race, etc. and hiring managers can be at fault of making judgements on a person based on this information alone, to the extent they may not consider their application.


Actions to take in addresses biases


  1. Start at the recruiting. One of the most useful ways to address biases is making changes to the way the company recruits. Block out names of applicants, look for diverse approaches to projects and perspectives that differ from the company’s cultural norm, and offering the candidate opportunity to provide feedback of the process are all effective methods to implement.
  2. Create diverse groups for company projects. Making sure that projects are run by diverse ideas through a group that has differing strengths in ability and experience is a great way to encourage innovating results.
  3. Keep diversity in the conversation, always. Outsource diversity training, offer skill-building opportunities to current staff, and keep on top of changes in legal requirements for keeping in compliance. If you can incorporate the elimination of biases into your company culture, they’ll be much easier to address over time.


Biases never really go away, so it’s important to take this issue seriously so as not to let them overrun a company’s day-to-day. It’s also worthwhile to note that it is a much better idea to establish a positive workplace culture than to deal with repeated instances of biases. Want to make sure you have the right support to begin? Eos HR is that team. We make sure small business employers have the resources they need to lead a productive and safe workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.