When people think of bias, they first think of behaviour that negatively impacts a person or group.
But that isn’t the only kind of bias.
We’ve been reading a lot about affinity bias lately. And seeing it in action. It is the tendency to favour people who are like you in some way.
The tendency to warm up to people like ourselves. Just ask yourself, have you ever looked for the ‘right fit’ when recruiting? In addition to recruiting, affinity bias affects who gets promoted or other opportunities to grow.
The right fit.
What is the right fit?
Are we just using a catch-all because we want an easier time and make sure that potential employees will seamlessly fit into the existing corporate culture.
No rocking the boat.
When we gravitate toward people who are like us, we actually end up paying less attention to people’s capabilities, accomplishments and potential without being aware of it. It’s unconscious bias. We do it without thinking.
It’s easier, conflict free and more efficient, right? It’s comfortable. But it’s not smart.
Without being aware of this kind of favouritsm, we don’t invite those who can disrupt the norms, those who can innovate the workplace and challenge our group-think.
How to avoid affinity bias?
Take time to get to know people better. The more we know, the more likely we can find common ground even if at first thought our gut says it’s not the right fit.
Embrace the discomfort of coming out of your comfort zone.
- See. Be aware of your bias.
- Think. Check your decision making. Challenge your thinking.
- Act. Do it differently. Widen the pool.
- Be better.
Diversity is good, pass it on!