When was the last time you reviewed your recognition and reward program data to see if there is any tendency toward hidden biases?
A hidden—or implicit—bias is defined as a preference for, or
against, a person, thing, or group, which is held at an unconscious level. This
means you and I don’t even know our minds are holding onto this bias. In
contrast, an overt—or explicit—bias is an attitude or prejudice which is very
much endorsed at a conscious level.
For example, what is the proportion of
recognition or reward recipients who are male versus female, with respect
to your employee gender ratio? Are rewards given more often to one gender over
another? Is there any general ratio between white and non-white employees? Do
disabled staff equally merit and receive recognition and rewards for exemplary
Perhaps we all need to ask these kinds of
question when identifying whether hidden biases exist in our recognition and
reward practices and programs.
If there are certain principles that
keep recognition and rewards open it is fairness and equity.
organizations have a formal awards program that is their “best-of-the-best”
academy awards event. These formal award programs are truly the best
performance ranking, or earned award, such as the top salesperson, or they
are nomination based and selected by a judging committee.
selected jurors are previous award recipients because they know the standard
required to become an award winner.
does using previous award winners as jurors who are peers of potential
award candidates lead to bias in selecting winners?
Is it possible that some of us, as supervisors, managers, or even as employees, are unknowingly biased in our approach to giving people recognition?
This leads to the whole issue of fairness. Fairness often comes up whenever people do not feel appreciated and valued for their contributions at work.
According to The Corporate Leavers Survey conducted in the United States by the Level Playing Field Institute, more than 2 million professionals and managers voluntarily leave their jobs each year due to perceived unfairness. This produces a turnover cost for U.S. employers of $64 billion annually.
Yet there are times we are not even aware we are biased.
What can you do to make sure all of your employees are not letting bias get in the way of acknowledging the great things going on at your company? How can you stop any perceived biases with recognition giving when you see it? (more…)