Home Technology Report Reveals Bias in Workplace Feedback - GeekWire

Report Reveals Bias in Workplace Feedback – GeekWire

Textio CEO Kieran Snyder (Photo via LinkedIn)

Textio, a comprehensive writing platform, has completed a review of written feedback on job performance from more than 25,000 employees at 250 organizations.

The Seattle company found biased comments that matched an employee’s gender, race, ethnicity and age. The study reports:

  • Black men received 68 words of written feedback for every 100 words white women received.
  • Asian men were seven times more likely to be called “brilliant” or “genius” than Latinx women.
  • Women, black, and Latinx workers, on average, received more personality-related feedback — both good and bad — than their peers.
  • Female, black and Latinx workers also receive much less “actionable” feedback than their male, white and Asian counterparts. Actionable feedback can be an important guide to making performance improvements.

Textio also surveyed employees online. It asked 500 respondents to recall feedback they had received at work, asking if they had been described using specific terms, including:

  • Abrasive: Women were 11 times more likely to get this description than men.
  • Overachiever: Black women were four times more likely to be called an overachiever than white men.
  • Confident: Men were three times more likely to be called confident than women.

Textio was founded in 2014 by Kieran Snyder, who has a Ph.D. in linguistics and cognitive sciences. The company uses machine learning and natural language processing to analyze corporate communications and help companies remove biased language from their operations.

“So what if women are more likely to be called “abrasive” than men? Who cares if white people are 2.5 times more likely to be called “geniuses” than black people? Snyder wrote in advance to the study.

“It’s important because with access to actionable feedback, people grow faster, earn more, and have more leadership opportunities,” she continued. “We still have a lot of work to do. Let’s dive in.”

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