Strategies to Reduce the Impact of Unconscious Bias

Published on: Wed 7 January 2015 by Admin

3 Simple Strategies to Reduce the Impact of Unconscious Bias

Following from previous blog What is Unconscious Bias I wanted to share with you 3 simple, easy-to-follow tip that will enable you to be more aware and proactively mitigate the effects of your unconscious biases.

Having strategies to reduce the impact of unconscious bias is really important for people in a number of roles, but most importantly for anyone with recruiting and selecting responsibilities, in a management or leadership role with reporting staff, Human Resources, Marketing and anyone with a customer facing role. (Quite a list eh?!)

So here goes:

Strategy 1


Simply understanding a bit about why and how unconscious bias occurs, and the impact it can have, is enough to trigger personal ‘checkpoints’ that provide an opportunity to consciously check important decisions that might have been influenced by unconscious assumptions.

(On-line tests are available to identify specific personal biases, and how strong they are, however, use with caution. Some are more careful than others in the way they provide feedback and support.)

Strategy 2

Unconscious Bias is more likely to happen when we are stressed, emotional or tired. So if you have a bundle of CVs or appraisal forms to work your way through (for example) then the worst thing to do is take them home to work through in the evening (perhaps with a glass of wine!) after a long day. Allocate time when you can give these types of tasks your fullest attention.

Strategy 3

Unconscious Bias

Interestingly we often show a preference for people who are most like us; in fact, research suggests that babies are as young as 3 months old prefer to be around people of their own race. As a result there is a strong risk that you display micro-signals and making biased decisions against those who are different to you, without even realising it.

Make a conscious effort to look out for examples that contradict assumptions you might make about certain groups of people. And proactively seek to challenge your unconscious preference for people most like you by talking to or spending more time with people who are ‘different’.

I hope that you find these 3 Strategies to Reduce the Impact of Unconscious Bias helpful however, if you do have any questions, then just do let me know!

Look out for the next blog: Return on Investment for Unconscious Bias Training.