HR Glossary  >   Unconscious Bias

Unconscious Bias

What is Unconscious Bias?

Unconscious Bias is the human tendency to develop unintentional perspectives about others on the basis of past attitudes or experiences, instincts, and stereotypes. A higher rate of unconscious bias may badly affect the organization in the longer run.

For example, when a manager unknowingly supports the ideas of employees with higher educational backgrounds or those who are more expressive about their thoughts. Due to this, other employees not from a similar background or who are introverts feel like a victim of bias.


What are Different Types of Unconscious Bias?

Unconscious bias can be divided into the following types.

Affinity Bias

It is an inclination of an individual toward others having similarities such as class, education, background, appearance, thoughts, motives, etc.

Appearance Bias

It is the perception of an individual regarding how other people appear physically. This involves height bias, weight bias, gender bias, and beauty bias.

Attribution Bias

Assuming someone’s achievements as their good fortune or their failure as disqualification is attribution bias. This is seen mainly during evaluations or appraisals.

Confirmation Bias

The bias happens when an individual refuses to accept contradicting decisions/statements. This harms a person’s decision-making.

Conformity Bias

This bias happens when an individual is forced to believe the decisions of others in a team. Due to this, they start questioning their own thoughts.


Halo Effect

This occurs when an individual’s accomplishments outweigh their failures.

Horns Effect

This occurs when an individual’s negatives outweigh their achievement. It is the inverse of the Halo effect.

Contrast Effect

This type is more common in the recruitment process. It is comparing a person’s resume with others who are highly experienced rather than considering qualifications and skills.

Affect Heuristics

It is giving more attention to unimportant or superficial details rather than facts and proofs.

Illusory Correlation

This is when an individual develops links between totally separate concepts or objects and then uses them to make assumptions.

Intuition Bias

Deciding something based on emotions and not factual information is regarded as intuition bias.


Frequently Asked Questions

How does unconscious bias differ from explicit bias?

Unconscious bias or implicit bias is a perspective of people that they are oblivious of and is not within their conscious power. On the contrary, explicit bias is an intentional opinion developed by people for other situations, things, or individuals.

What are the strategies to eliminate unconscious/implicit bias?

Implicit bias happens without an individual’s own knowledge or personal grudge. However, it has a negative impact on the workplace. An employer can follow the following strategies to overcome such partial behavior.

  • Train your employees about different types of unconscious bias and how they occur in the workplace.
  • Retrospect how these biases impact your workplace atmosphere.
  • Review your recruitment process and act upon any discrimination or prejudice happening there.
  • Develop diversity or inclusion targets so that the organization can work on improving engagement and group activities.
  • Empower your employee to speak and report about any partiality or discrimination happening around them, even if they are not the subject.
  • Ensure that every decision-making is based on data and not emotions, personal resentment, etc.


What are the consequences of unconscious bias?

The effect of unconscious bias is very harmful to organizations. Here are the major consequences.

  • Reduces employee development
  • Spoils diversity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Increases employee turnover and attrition rate
  • Disturbs hiring decisions

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