Identifying Bias in the Workplace

If you feel like an unfair practice at your workplace is preventing you from reaching your full potential, you may be right.

In today's fast-paced, near-chaotic business landscape, workplace bias is as common as leaves on a tree in June.

THE DEFINITION BIAS

Bias can be defined as the tendency to privilege a particular group of people or set of ideas to the exclusion or detriment of other groups or ideas. Needless to say, the ones that aren't in this 'circle,' aren't given enough attention and reward in the workplace.

THE ORIGINS OF BIAS

Bias is as psychological as it gets. It forms unconsciously during the different stages of childhood and teenage, with an input from family, culture, media, and other external sources all playing a role in how you will see the world, what you will like, and what you will dislike.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF BIAS

Bias impacts all areas of life as it shapes how we view life. It influences our decisions, feeds our fears, shapes our relationships, and determines our actions.

BIAS IN THE WORKPLACE

Roger J. Davis—an academic and expert in linguistics—says that bias can be an important hidden factor in whether:

  • The best candidate gets a job
  • The most suitable employee is given responsibility for an important project
  • A performance review is aligned with salary and bonus payments
  • Promotions are given based on merit or favouritism
  • Clients feel that they have received good service

IS BIAS A FOUNDATION?

Undoubtedly so. Bias can act as a huge limitation on your potential. However, it is a limitation you can overcome in yourself—and observe in others.

Examining your own biases is the first step in opening up new avenues for personal and professional growth.

SAY HELLO TO SOMEONE WHO WAS BIASED ONCE

As we move through this program, I’ll share stories from my life that are examples of biases. There will be some stories which resonate with your own experience and others that may seem strange to you.

There will probably be times when you say out loud, ‘She’s talking about my life!’ That’s because, although we think our experiences are unique to ourselves, they are common to many if not most people, although our responses and reactions to these situations are uniquely our own.

I have been fortunate enough to identify and overcome my own biases. And as a result, I have a glimpse of what true growth looks like. I wish to impart on others this way to improve their personal and professional lives and be limitless.

Hi, I’m Bronwyn Williams


I am determined to make bias conscious in the workplace. Rather than aiming to eliminate unconscious bias, we must accept that we are a result of our environment, inherently biased. We are better served finding and making those biases conscious and then developing targeted strategies to drive successful growth and change.

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