diverse team discussion about implicit stereotypes

How to tackle implicit stereotypes in the workplace

The term implicit stereotypes  was coined by psychologists in 1995, and is a term used to describe judgments made about an individual or group based on underlying preconceptions.

An implicit stereotype can describe attitudes and ideas we unconsciously hold. As humans, we try to navigate society in the best ways that make sense to us. Societal attitudes, culture, and individual upbringing can form implicit stereotypes that become harmful to those around us.

Implicit stereotypes aren’t solely focused on race or ethnicity. These stereotypes include characteristics like gender, age, sexuality, and even non-demographic factors like conformity bias.

  • Gender Bias: Analyse your organisation’s human resources processes, does one gender receive preferential treatment over another? Do women have to prove themselves more than men to receive promotions, bonuses, or salary increases?
  • Ageism: Older employees may perceive younger colleagues as unprofessional or less qualified. On the other hand, younger employees might see their older workmates as less flexible or knowledgeable.
  • Conformity Bias: Everyone wants to be liked. Team members, and even executive-level leaders, might sway the opinions of other colleagues. Groupthink is a powerful, negative effect of conformity bias.

Employees of colour might feel unsafe at work due to implicit stereotypes that prevent them from reaching their full potential. These stereotypes also discourage employees from sharing their diverse cultures in the workplace due to the fear of negative  judgement or being seen as an outsider.

All viewpoints are necessary for a healthy and productive conversation, particularly for facilitating the design thinking process.

Without internal processes to combat implicit stereotypes, they can creep into your company culture and limit your team’s potential. What can your organisation do to limit their impact on your overall success?

Why should companies address and challenge implicit stereotypes?

Diverse companies perform better, earn more revenue, and position themselves as competitive organisations to work for. While many organisations shifted over the pandemic to include specialised education, unconscious bias, diversity, and inclusion training completes one part of a complex equation. The most effective diversity and inclusion efforts combine training with wider organisational changes and tools that work within daily operations.

  • Ensure transparency with public company diversity reports
  • Block out applicants’ names when reviewing potential candidate CVs
  • Form groups with diverse age groups
  • Use anonymous ideation and opinion sharing methods

Invest time, effort, and digital resources to encourage conversations & collaborative breakthroughs. As you begin to embrace all available perspectives, you’ll see diversity and inclusion’s full potential for your team.

How can Axis help you tackle implicit stereotypes?

Anonymous ideation

Axis's anonymous input and idea-sharing feature gives everyone an equal say in the conversation. With more confidence to speak up and share new insights, you’ll start to uncover organisational bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement.

Free inclusion & diversity templates

Try Axis’s free-to-use I&D templates, designed especially for important conversations, and bring the whole team on board for the discussion. These templates cover a range of topics including gender parity, and have  no participation limit. You can run this engaging workshop with your entire team for free at any time.

Equal evaluation & value scoring

Facilitate collective decision making faster than you ever have before. Without the social pressures of conformity bias and a fair idea voting process, you’ll make concrete decisions much quicker.

Would your team consider your working sessions or meeting times to be a safe space for everyone? Facilitate more inclusive, effective decision-making and try Axis free today.

Related articles

employee spotlight: developer talking about virtual working and team building

Engineering a design thinking dream

Read full article
The inclusion and diversity imperative

The inclusion and diversity imperative

Read full article
Save time and maximise impact with every meeting, workshop and event

Save time and maximise impact with every meeting, workshop and event

Smartphone participationEvery idea shared