Eliminating unconscious bias in a business cannot be achieved instantly through a simple directive. Despite outlining the necessary measures to enhance the hiring process and attract a more diverse pool of talent, the presence of implicit bias among recruiters, human resources professionals, and managers can impede these efforts, hindering the company’s ability to identify and recruit the most qualified individuals. 




Irrespective of whether bias is consciously or unconsciously held, its presence can have detrimental effects on work environments. Deloitte’s research, presented in the 2019 State of Inclusion report, revealed that 84 percent of the 3,000 respondents reported a negative impact on their happiness and confidence due to bias. Approximately 75 percent of individuals indicated that the bias they encountered had an adverse effect on their level of workplace engagement. Moreover, slightly over 68 percent of respondents in Deloitte’s study stated that bias negatively impacted their overall workplace productivity. 

Let’s examine strategies that organizations can employ to identify and mitigate the influence of biases held by individuals within the company, enhance hiring practices, and reap the numerous well-documented advantages of a more diverse workforce.

Establish a clear understanding of diversity and its objectives. 

Align organizational objectives to emphasize the importance of eliminating unconscious bias and fostering diversity as integral to the company’s overall success. Subsequently, clearly outline the concept of diversity within your organization by identifying ethnicities, ages, genders, and sexual preference groups that are currently underrepresented. Following this, establish measurable targets for each stage of the candidate pipeline, including applicant funnels, interview conversion rates, and acceptances. Finally, ensure effective communication of achievements and successes in these endeavors. 


Recognize and acknowledge the presence of implicit bias. 

Begin by acknowledging the existence of implicit bias. It is essential to openly recognize and address this bias in order to mitigate its effects. Even when utilizing artificial intelligence, we must be mindful of the datasets we provide, as they shape the learning process. Rather than solely focusing on qualifications, we should also consider the meaning of diversity and appreciate how an outsider’s perspective can bring valuable advantages. Instead of disregarding differences, it is important to proactively inquire, “In what ways can someone with diverse attributes contribute to our organization?” 


Build a foundation rooted in trust. 

Developing a strong foundation of trust, commitment, accountability, and collaboration plays a pivotal role in advancing a company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. By providing effective conflict resolution programs that enhance communication skills, the organization fosters unity that aligns with its vision and values. This approach not only creates avenues for professional development but also bolsters the organization’s culture and vitality. 


Educate your Team. 

Professor Francesca Gino from Harvard Business School emphasizes that the initial and crucial step is to provide education to employees regarding the existence of unconscious bias. By implementing awareness training, employees become knowledgeable about identifying the indicators of unconscious bias. 

Make Hiring a Collective Effort. 

There is a possibility of bias existing within the design of the hiring process itself. Often, these processes are crafted from a single perspective, such as a specific level, function, or identity. To address this, it is crucial to involve diverse perspectives and identities in the design phase, ensuring a collective effort. At each stage of the process, including job posting, outreach, and onboarding, it is essential to incorporate checks for cultural alignment, bias mitigation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion considerations. 


Recognize and value diversity in leadership. 

Increase the recruitment of diverse managers and demonstrate genuine appreciation for their contributions. As individuals with unconscious biases may not be aware of their biases, it is essential to prioritize the establishment of an environment that values and embraces comprehensive diversity across all organizational levels. 


Implement a structured interview methodology. 

Simultaneously develop the interview alongside the job description, formulating questions that effectively assess candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities in relation to the position. Maintain consistency by asking all applicants the same set of questions, enabling hiring decision makers to make informed comparisons based on applicants’ capabilities rather than relying solely on initial impressions. 


Revise job descriptions. 

In the early stages of the hiring process, candidates rely on job descriptions to assess their suitability for a position based on their personal and professional qualifications. Job descriptions hold significant importance as they shape the initial perception of an organization for potential candidates. 

According to Professor Gino, even subtle word choices in job descriptions can significantly influence the applicant pool, particularly when aiming to minimize unconscious gender bias. 


Examine how organizational culture sustains bias. 

Explore the influence of organizational culture in perpetuating biases, including subtle collective assumptions like viewing men as non-primary caregivers or associating nationality or race with specific leadership styles. It is common for these aspects to be overlooked. To mitigate unconscious bias, one effective approach is to establish company values at the highest level and intentionally cultivate a culture of inclusivity, consistently and consciously demonstrating these values throughout the organization. 


In conclusion, addressing bias in the workplace is not only ethically important but also makes solid business sense. By actively reducing bias, your organization can attract higher quality job candidates who, once hired, contribute to increased sales and improved productivity. 

To effectively minimize unconscious bias, it requires a collective commitment from every member of your organization, consistently upheld on a daily basis.