Recognizing My Own Bias

As an HR professional, I like to believe that I am objective and treat everyone the same regardless of their background, race, religion, sex, etc etc etc. But if I’m honest with myself, I’m probably very biased. I grew up in a small farming community with a small Native American population, even though we were close to a reservation. This South Dakota community was/is, unsurprisingly, very very white. We did not have favorable opinions of “Indians.” The most diversity we had was the wide variety of Lutheran churches you had to choose from (seriously, a town of 500 people needed 4 different Lutheran churches!)

In the HR Compliance Certificate Program I took through Mitchell Hamline [excellent program by the way], our course on recruitment included an optional activity to test our unconscious bias by taking a test that was created by Harvard. I think I’ve see this before, but it was interesting to take with my belief that I’m able to be unbiased. I was a little sad to see I do have a slight bias for lighter skin, younger faces, & previous presidents over our current one – okay so maybe I wasn’t SO surprised at that last one.

But even though I was a little disappointed in the results, I am happy to know this so I can make corrections as you can only correct the issues you know about.

Take the tests at that link and find your own biases. A bias is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a preference. Be aware. Be present. Pay attention and you will become a better HR professional and all around person by making those corrections.



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