Is Your Network Unconsciously Biased?

Posted on March 7, 2016

by Gayle Hallgren-Rezac, Judy Thomson, Darcy Rezac


Most of us like to think we are objective in our decision making. However, research shows we are all affected by unconscious bias—preferences shaped by our background, experiences, and cultural norms. Without us even knowing it, we take mental shortcuts when we make decisions on whom to hire, promote or even to talk to at a networking event.

Organizations, such as Google, are addressing this issue by providing training and tools to help “bust” unconscious bias. Even their Google Doodles – which profile the birthdays of mathematicians, scientists and engineers – needed fixing when they realized that for every ten men they profiled there was only one woman.

If you’re thinking, “Well, this doesn’t apply to me”, we encourage you to take the Harvard Implicit Association Test to learn your preferences. Then, work on modifying them. The next time you go to a networking event don’t search the room for someone who seems similar to you. Pick someone totally different. Look at the diversity in your LinkedIn contacts. If you are a man, do you have mostly male contacts? Work on making a conscious effort to put yourself in situations where you can add more women to the mix. Creating a diverse network makes good sense for your career and your life.


Gayle Hallgren-Rezac, Judy Thomson and Darcy Rezac
Shepa Learning Company