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Root Out Bias from Your Performance Reviews

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Even if you have the best intentions, implicit bias can still sneak into the performance reviews you prepare for your team. How can you de-bias your review process and become a fairer manager? Reflect on the following questions for each employee:

  • How and when do they contribute? Are their contributions valuable?
  • What was their output compared with what they were asked to deliver?
  • What specific data and observations justify your assessment?
  • Would you have given the same feedback if the employee had been a person of a different race and/or a different gender?

Then, prevent yourself from unconsciously favoring employees who are similar to you in one way or another. To remove this kind of similarity bias from your performance reviews, work to find common ground with all your direct reports before assessing their work. For example, talk to them about work events you both participated in or good news about the company that affects everyone. These may seem like small steps, but they can lead to important changes. Instead of focusing — consciously or unconsciously — on in-group affiliation, you can focus more fairly on your employees’ ideas and achievements.

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