In today’s diverse workplace, it is essential to recognize and address different forms of bias that can occur. “Bias definition” is a common search phrase, as employees seek to improve their understanding of what they can do differently. From confirmation bias to hindsight bias, The Biz Dojo has you covered with our top 13 biases found in business.
The best way to address a bias? Learn what it is, spot it, and take action. So, to help you on that journey – here is the list of the top 13 biases you may come across in the workplace.
Top 13 Bias in business
With this bias, we tend to seek out information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs and ignore information that challenges them. To overcome this, it is important to stay open to different viewpoints and actively seek out diverse perspectives.
This is unconscious bias that affects the process of how we make decisions. To overcome this, we must become aware of our biases and challenge them through deliberate action.
In this bias, we form an overall impression of an individual based on one positive characteristic. To overcome this, it is important to evaluate individuals based on a variety of criteria rather than relying on one aspect.
This is the opposite of the halo effect, where one negative characteristic clouds our overall perception of an individual. To overcome this, it is important to evaluate individuals based on multiple criteria and not let one negative trait overshadow their other qualities.
It is natural for us to want to favor individuals who are similar to ourselves. But, that also means we’re often surrounded by those who don’t challenge our way of thinking. It prevents us from exploring new ways of thinking, and ultimately stunts our growth. To overcome this, it is important to actively seek out diversity in our workplaces. We must consider individuals based on their qualifications rather than their similarities to us.
This is the tendency to conform to group opinions rather than considering alternative viewpoints, even when they conflict with or own beliefs. This can often occur when we have the same groups of individuals working on a project. This often occurs in politics, where members go along with a particular idea simply because it is desired by the broader group. To overcome this, it is important to encourage diverse perspectives and challenge assumptions. It is important to speak up, this is especially true if your “gut instinct” is telling you something contrary to the group opinion. Explore that feeling with the group to ensure your own comfort level with the decision, and to help eliminate any groupthink biases.
This is the tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information received when making decisions. This is often used in marketing, especially for high-ticket items. For example, if you’re thinking about buying a new car, the first price you see is your anchor point. The salesperson may then offer you a slightly lower price, and you will perceive it as a deal — even though it may be significantly higher than the true value of the vehicle. To overcome this, it is important to gather and evaluate multiple sources of information. So in this example, taking the time to shop around and compare prices is critical before that sales person gets to you.
This is the tendency to rely on readily available information rather than seeking out more accurate or relevant data. This is another bias that has a great connection to marketing. When you think of facial tissue, you probably think “Kleenex”. In fact, you probably don’t even think “facial tissue”. There are likely brands out there you may be more interested in, but when you go to the store Kleenex is the first to mind. So, it’s what you buy. To overcome this, it is important to conduct thorough research and avoid making decisions based on assumptions.
This is the tendency to attribute qualities of others based on incomplete evidence. In business, one of the greatest examples of attribution bias is in the hiring process. In hiring, we often seek out credentials (i.e. University degree) because we are biased towards higher education. The skills and experience of the team member are often not even considered if a candidate doesn’t have that initial “qualification” for the role. So, we are biased even before the process begins, and as a result will often miss out on truly incredible candidates.
This is the tendency to place too much weight on recent events or information when making decisions. To overcome recency bias, consider historical data and trends, and strive for consistency in decision-making.
This is the tendency to believe that events were predictable and inevitable after they have occurred. To overcome hindsight bias, consider the information and circumstances that were available at the time of the decision. Focus on learning and improvement rather than blame.
The workplace should be a space where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background, race, gender, or any other factor. Unfortunately, unconscious biases can creep into the workplace, affecting decisions and hindering diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
Recognizing and addressing different forms of bias is essential for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. By being aware of these biases and taking deliberate action to overcome them, we can create a workplace culture that values diversity and promotes equality. It is up to all of us to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued.
J.P. is a multi-certified coach, project and program manager, podcast host and entrepreneur.