Workers who believe their employers are negatively biased against their potential to succeed within the organization are more likely to quit their jobs, and also disparage the organization on social media. This is according to the Center for Talent Innovation’s study, “Disrupt Bias, Drive Value.”
The New York City-based diversity think tank commissioned NORC at the University of Chicago to survey 3,570 college-educated professionals in white-collar occupations, asking them to compare how they assess their potential with how they believe their superiors assess their potential in the following areas: ability, ambition, commitment, connections, emotional intelligence, and executive presence (dubbed “the ACE model”).
For those whose self-assessment is higher than their superiors’ assessment in two or more of those areas, CTI considers that negative bias, or “ACE bias.”
Employees who work at large companies (with 1,000 employees or more) who experience ACE bias are less likely to have received a raise in the past year than those who do not perceive that bias (47 percent versus 69 percent). Just one-third (34 percent) of those who perceive ACE bias saw their job responsibilities increase, compared to 62 percent who do not perceive that bias; and 15 percent received a promotion, compared to 20 percent for those who do not perceive ACE bias.
Those who perceive ACE bias are also more likely to feel regularly alienated at work (33 percent vs. 8 percent); withheld ideas or solutions within the past six months (34 percent vs. 13 percent); say they are not proud to work for their companies (75 percent vs. 35 percent); and have not referred people in their networks to work at their companies (80 percent vs. 66 percent).
ACE bias is also correlated with behaviors such as flight risk and brand sabotage which have measurable costs to organizations, according to the study.
Employees who work at large companies who perceive ACE bias are more than three times as likely as those who don't to plan to leave their employers within the year, and five times as likely to speak about their company in a negative manner on social media.
To lower ACE bias, employers should place diverse leaders in senior positions, make sure team leaders practice specific inclusive behaviors, and promote sponsorship, in which senior-level advocates help lever employees into leadership, “effectively bypassing or negating the effects of managerial bias.”
“In order to truly see the potential of diverse employees on teams, leaders have to get beyond gut-level assumptions,” the authors write. “They can do so by creating a ‘speak up culture’ where everyone feels welcome and included.”