Ideas to help you grow
Home / Blog / Article

Overcoming Unconscious Bias In The Workplace

Unconscious biases are stereotypes you may have of certain groups of people that have formed outside of your conscious awareness. Most, if not all, people have unconscious beliefs about various groups. These beliefs that grow out of a need to categorize individuals into social groups. These unconscious biases negatively impact your work relationships, performance and key organizational processes. Specific steps can be taken to overcome unconscious bias in the workplace, unbias yourself and your organization.


A recent national study facilitated by the Center for Talent Innovation, measured the impact of bias on thousands of employees at large companies. They found that employees who perceive bias (compared to those that do not) are nearly 3 times more likely (20% vs 7%) to say they’re disengaged at work. They are more than 4 times as likely (33% vs 8%) to report they feel regularly alienated at work. They are more than twice as likely (75% vs 35%) to say, “I am not proud to work for my company.” The cost of alienated and disengaged employees is immense. According to Gallup, employee disengagement costs the U.S. $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity each year.

Nearly half (48%) of employees who experience bias have spent some time at work searching for another job in the prior six months. In addition, the percentage of employees who plan to leave their current employer within one year more than triples (31% to 10%), when they experience bias. Total turnover costs typically range from 90% to 200% of an individual salary so that represents a significant and unnecessary cost.

Bias can also have a detrimental impact on innovation. Employees who experience bias are 2.5 times more likely (34% vs 13%) to withhold ideas and potential market solutions from their teammates and employers. They are also more likely (69% vs 46%) to expend energy repressing their persona at work, i.e., hiding aspects of their identity. This siphons energy away from the performance of their jobs, and denies team members insight into potentially useful ideas. Ideas that can bring creative solutions to problems.

It’s clear that unconscious bias decreases employee engagement, decreases employee satisfaction, increases turnover, decreases innovation, decreases productivity and can have a significantly negative impact on an organization’s image. Employees who experience bias are 5 times more likely to speak and post negatively about their organization on social media. By reducing the impact of unconscious bias, you can significantly increase employee engagement - which is a huge problem in today’s workplace, even without considering the impact of bias - improve individual and team productivity, increase innovation, increase job satisfaction, improve morale and reduce costs. All of which will make your boss very happy!


Ingomu Learning has partnered with Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes to bring you the eLearning course “Unconscious Bias: A Quiet Performance Killer.” This online course will demonstrate a step-by-step process you can use to reduce the negative impact of unconscious bias in your organization. The course examines 5 types of unconscious bias: affinity bias, beauty bias, confirmation bias, conformity bias and halo/horns effect bias. Specifically, we will take a look at the way each type of bias can negatively affect work relationships and performance. We talk about the negative impact they can have on recruitment, interviewing, selection, mentoring, coaching, problem-solving, decision-making, retention, job satisfaction and team effectiveness.

Next in the online course, we examine a 4-step process you can use to reduce the negative impact of these biases. In other words, to unbias your organization. This includes identifying a specific organizational process (e.g., recruitment, interviewing, onboarding or customer service), identifying the types of bias that can negatively affect this process, clarifying how the bias damages the process and most significantly, identifying specific steps you can take to reduce the negative impact of bias on this process.

We will also discuss how to transfer this process to your company or organization so you can apply it to increase employee engagement, increase employee satisfaction, decrease turnover, increase innovation, increase productivity and boost your organizational image!

The online course will feature mastermind groups, inviting business leaders to connect with like-minded professionals who come together to support each other in advancing their businesses. Some of the best ideas come from outside your industry and through new insights gleaned from someone beyond the scope of your normal resources. There is extraordinary benefit in connecting with peers from other sectors of the business world; the masterminds with this online course will be good for your company, also.


Join Dr. Holmes and Ingomu Learning for a complimentary webinar on January 20, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time and learn why it is important to pay attention to the negative impact unconscious bias can have on work relationships and performance. Specifically, this free 45-minute session will focus on identifying the specific ways unconscious bias can hurt your company. We’ll examine how unconscious bias decreases employee engagement, employee satisfaction, innovation and productivity, while increasing turnover and negatively impacting your organization’s image. We’ll also discuss how reducing the impact of unconscious bias can significantly increase employee engagement (which is a huge problem in today’s workplace, even without considering the impact of bias), improve individual and team productivity, increase creativity, enhance morale and reduce costs.


Get your free 10 Quick Tips for Reducing Your Biases and Stereotypes and learn more about the “Unconscious Bias: A Quiet Performance Killer” online course here.


Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes, Ed.D, is a professional speaker, coach and author who has spent more than two decades teaching thousands of people to build powerful relationships in diverse settings. He received his bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Education and master’s degree in Counselor Education from Penn State University. Dr. Holmes received a second master’s degree in Business Management from the State University of New York before earning a perfect 4.0 GPA in his Counselor Education doctoral program at Penn State. As the owner of T.A.H. Performance Consultants, he has facilitated more than 1,500 paid keynotes, training seminars, webinars and classes that have taught participants to connect with others despite their differences, to effectively articulate their messages and to connect with diverse audiences and groups. His most recent book is Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage: 70 Tips to Improve Communication, which is a tool we can use to build powerful connections in diverse organizations. Dr. Holmes is a Past President of the Arizona Chapter of the National Speakers Association, and he loves to facilitate fun, interactive sessions that provide useful tools and techniques for participants!