November 23, 2020
By Susan Baxter, CEO World
In the workplace, bias can be a divisive and disruptive obstacle. This is especially true when companies don’t get out in front of it. By taking steps to cultivate a bias-free workplace, companies can avoid pitfalls and evoke a positive and productive corporate atmosphere.
Bias isn’t always loud and obvious — in some cases, it can be downright subtle. Regardless, all forms of bias can damage organizational trust and solidarity, even if some people remain unaware of verbal or behavioral slights and microaggressions.
How can we shine a light on those elusive and fleeting biases? It comes down to what former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall called “the quality of your intent” regarding what was said or done. Marshall argued that intent “always comes through,” meaning that bias is bias no matter how unconscious or unintentional it might be.
Unconscious bias happens in the shadows of the mind, often as a conditioned response built over time. But its impact can negatively influence a company’s overall cultural tenor, productivity, and collective stress level.