Is Proximity Bias Creeping Into Your Talent Review Process in Light of Remote and Hybrid Work? | Brian Heger

Talent Management

Most organizations conduct some form of a talent review process. And with many organizations faced with current talent acquisition and retention challenges, the organizational talent review can help address these concerns. As a result, talent leaders continue to identify opportunities to improve the effectiveness of their talent review practices by asking and answering questions, such as: does the number of “boxes” or talent categories, including the classic 9-box of performance and potential, really matter? In his article, It’s Not About the Boxes: The 9-box Grid and What Really Matters, Marc Effron of The Talent Strategy Group answers this question: “it doesn’t matter as long as it facilitates an accurate conversation about an individual’s performance and potential.” And one determinant of accurate and objective talent reviews is the ability to minimize bias from influencing talent review decisions. One bias likely to become more pronounced in talent reviews—considering remote and hybrid work—is proximity bias (PB). PB happens when decision-makers view workers that spend more time in a company-designated office location, or are in proximity to decision-makers, more favorably than their remote counterparts. PB can lead managers to overestimate employees’ performance and potential (a false positive) or underestimate it (a false negative). Given PB’s heightened likelihood in today’s business environment, what tactics are you/will you employ to reduce the risk of PB creeping into your organization’s talent review process?