Exploring Our Unconscious Bias

June 29, 2016

Believe it or not, we all have bias. These unconscious assumptions often inform our decisions and can have an adverse effect on diversity in the workplace. For example, resumes with African-American names get fewer call backs than those with European names, not because HR professionals are racist – but because some don’t realize that unexamined beliefs about race are affecting their choices.

Unconscious perceptions govern many of the most important decisions we make and have a profound effect on the lives of many people in many ways. . . Unconscious patterns can play out in ways that are so subtle they are hard to spot. – Howard Ross, founder Cook Ross Inc.

A conversation is underway in the sector – among board members, grant makers, directors, and staff – about effects of unconscious prejudices in decision making. Fresh energy is being invested in strategies to combat hidden bias so that diversity is improved.

Wondering about your own unconscious bias? Try the Implicit Association Test, created by researchers in order to study aspects of social and organizational performance. The tests are quick and the results may surprise you.

Bias is hard wired, a sorting mechanism that helps us to survive. We can’t be rid of it completely, but it’s important to identify when it may be clouding our judgement. CNE would like to support you in addressing this complex issue. Register for Diversity and Overcoming Unconscious Bias to learn about implicit attitudes and start taking action toward more inclusion – in the workplace, on the board, and in the community.