Sandra Bledsoe

Types Of Bias In The Workplace: 11 Biases You Should Know

Bias in the workplace usually refers to an unequal preference or preconceived impression about a person or an object that one owns as a result of a variety of social influences. A personal preference is referred to as “bias.”

There are numerous types of workplace bias, some of which are stated below:

  • Confirmation Bias

The tendency to develop conclusions about a situation or person based on your own preferences, views, and prejudices rather than objective data is known as confirmation bias. Confirmation bias can be troublesome in the hiring process when you’re perusing a resume and generating an initial impression of a prospect based on facts like identity, background, etc. This perspective can accompany you throughout the interview, leading to questions that confirm the candidate’s first impression.

  • Affinity Bias

Similarity prejudice, also known as affinity bias, is the tendency for people to connect with others who have similar interests, experiences, or backgrounds. Affinity bias is most likely at work when organizations employ for “cultural fit.” 

When hiring teams meet someone they like and think will fit in with the group, it’s usually because they share similar interests, experiences, and backgrounds, which doesn’t help your team expand and diversity. While similarities should not inherently reject a candidate, they should never be used to make a decision.

  • Hindsight Bias

Hindsight Bias, often known as the “knew-it-all-along” phenomenon, describes our tendency to convince ourselves that we predicted an event before it occurred. This isn’t always the case, though. This leads people to believe that they can properly foretell events. After an occurrence, we reorganize our ideas and make it appear as if we knew how everything would come out all along.

  • Availability Heuristic

Our predisposition to cling to the knowledge and ideas we already have has an impact on our decision-making. They make decisions based on the knowledge that they can recall quickly. Even if the data is incomplete, they make decisions based on it because it is readily available. HR professionals are frequently required to make hasty choices. They may be impacted by the knowledge their brain can recall at the time while doing so. For example, if HR is tasked with resolving a workplace issue, they may instinctively take sides based on recent occurrences when each scenario should be handled separately.

  • Anchoring Bias

Anchoring bias is a heuristic that occurs when people make decisions based on a limited amount of information. The initial piece of information we get serves to ‘anchor’ us to a particular conclusion. Our first perceptions and thoughts are given far more weight than they deserve. This prejudice then has an impact on all of our following decisions. 

The anchoring can be as simple as a coworker’s suggestion. When we stereotype a person based on their ethnicity, accent, or origin, they can be discriminated against. The anchoring bias is a perilous interpretation of the first impression as the last.

  • Halo Effect

Employees who perceive other colleagues as better or worse than them are said to have this effect. When employees learn knowledge about their peers, this can happen. If the knowledge is related to achievement, this colleague will be regarded favorably. However, if a coworker has an unusual personality trait, like a quirk, that individual may be seen differently.

  • The horns effect

The horns effect refers to people’s predisposition to develop a negative opinion of another person after discovering something unpleasant or negative about them. The horns effect, which is the polar opposite of the halo effect, can force recruiting teams to eliminate candidates based on a trait that is incompatible with the team’s preferences. 

This might be anything as insignificant as the candidate working for a firm you despise or exhibiting a peculiar trait or mannerism during the interview. Even though it’s a minor aspect that may or may not be relevant, such characteristics can completely change your opinion of a candidate.

  • Contrast effect

When you compare two or more things you’ve come into contact with — either simultaneously or one after the other — the contrast effect occurs, causing you to exaggerate the performance of one in comparison to the other. This one is a bit of a stretch, but it’s also one of the most widespread forms of bias in the recruiting world. It’s easy to compare one application to the next in the stack and determine which one is better than the other when you’re analyzing a large number of applicants. 

An excellent interview with one candidate may make the next candidate appear awful.

  • Bandwagon Effect

Many people are conformists, adopting the ideas, attitudes, and ideals of their peers. Furthermore, they are more likely to agree to things because everyone else is. The bandwagon effect has an impact on the company since it makes rational decision-making more difficult. Consider a situation in which management must make a critical decision. 

The majority of the managers are in support of one option. Some people have real reservations about it, but because of groupthink, they may not speak up. The bandwagon effect generates a negative feedback loop in which more people join the bandwagon because their decisions are easily influenced by others’. 

  • Decline Bias

This form of cognitive bias occurs when people have a rosy view of the past and a pessimistic view of the present. For example, you may have heard elders state that things were better when they were younger, and that morals, ideals, and behaviors are declining over the world. This could be owing to the human brain’s proclivity for keeping good memories over unfavorable ones. 

Another factor could be that we console ourselves in difficult times by focusing on how horrible the circumstances are rather than the issues themselves.

  • Ageism

The inclination to develop negative thoughts about another person based on their age is known as ageism in the workplace. Ageism affects older people more than younger individuals, especially in American companies. When people reach their 50s, 58 percent of workers begin to notice ageism. 

Employers tend to value younger people more and more at that stage, making it more difficult to change careers, obtain work, or advance in their professions – even though experience and knowledge are vital skills for any successful organization.

Analysis of nonverbal communication features such as body language and allowing them to influence a choice or opinion is known as nonverbal bias. Nonverbal prejudice might creep in when you meet a candidate for an interview (whether in person or remotely). It’s easy to misinterpret a weak handshake, folded arms, or difficulties maintaining eye contact as apathy, overconfidence, or an overall unpleasant attitude. It’s crucial to realize that how someone goes through the world has nothing to do with their genuine intentions whether they’ll be a good fit for your team.

There are a variety of ways to minimize bias in the workplace, and one of them is to start a bias-focused training session. Anti-Bias training (also known as unconscious bias training) aims to educate people about their hidden prejudices. Individuals will learn how to adjust their natural thought processes and finally eliminate discriminatory behavior as a result of these sessions. Unintentional, deeply rooted, universal, and able to impact behavior, implicit biases are taught prejudices.


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