Uncovering Unconscious Bias

December 1, 2020 Sarah Bloznalis


Believe it or not, there are more than 150 different unconscious biases at play in workplace decision-making at any given time. This is why detecting, preventing, and eradicating unconscious biases in the workplace is vital to an organization’s success. 

In this Workhuman® episode of “Have a Minute?”, Dr. Patti Fletcher, VP of brand marketing, speaks with Jesse Harriott, global head of analytics, about the innovative work the Workhuman research team is doing around unconscious bias and the impact it can have on all of our organizations.  

“At Workhuman we’re sitting on top of about 50 million different recognition moments, moments where someone is using their own words to thank a colleague for a job well done,” Jesse explains. Although giving recognition is always well-intended, he cautions, “even in moments like that, our own unconscious bias can creep in.”  

With this knowledge, Jesse continues, “Our team has been hard at work developing some techniques to uncover when those unconscious biases may be occurring.” 

“By using a proactive AI engine that helps us understand what people might take offense to when receiving recognition, we are able to create a learning moment inside the product where people can stop, think, and react to the language [suggestions] they might use.” 

One example of unconscious bias Jesse and his team are working on eradicating is “faint praise.” He explains, “when you give someone a compliment and you express surprise because you can’t believe they did such a good job. That’s considered faint praise, and that’s something we want to highlight and help educate people on how others may take their messages.”  

As we continue searching for a better way of working, it’s time to take advantage of the technology at our disposal. With the help of AI and natural language processing, the possibilities are endless. 

(Each week, Dr. Patti Fletcher speaks with a Workhuman colleague on how to unlock the power of connection in the global talent economy.) 


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