We all do it.
Every day we make routine assumptions about the people around us based on nothing other than our own unconscious bias.
Thats why so many of us routinely associate the colour pink with girls and the colour blue with boys.
Its also why very many people will automatically assume that the nurse they have an appointment with will be a woman, whilst the consultant will be a man. Its why we assume youngsters are better handling technology than older people and taller people make better leaders than those of a more diminutive stature.
Interestingly, we all assume that every other person we meet will be making judgments based on these unconscious factors, though we ourselves would never do so.
Unconscious bias is a very real factor in the workplace too.
If you are anything like me, Brexit will be the last thing you want to talk about.
More than three years have passed since the referendum, and theres been barely a day when our departure from the EU hasnt dominated the headlines.
And yet, in all that time, we seem to have made little definite progress.
Business has, almost universally, called for some form of clarity. Yet little has come.
Its an age-old dilemma in business. You want to recruit the best young people, but when you do - and spend a lot of money training them up - they leave without a second thought to progress their careers. And of course, all that time, effort and money spent on their development walks out of the door with them. If any of that sounds familiar you might want to consider using apprenticeships to help bridge your skills gap. They are still a popular way in to work, with 119,500 young people taking up apprenticeships in the first three quarters of 2017/18, a huge increase on the same period 12 months earlier.
Just when you think there cannot be anymore paperwork left to complete, along comes another change to pension contributions. Hopefully, you should already have made the necessary changes from the start of April. That was the date when employer contributions to workplace pensions rose to a minimum of three per cent. Making the increase should be straight forward enough but there are a number of things to bear in mind. For one thing, if you self-certify your workplace scheme you will have different minimum contribution increases, depending on how pensionable pay is calculated.
The latest gender pay gap figures didnt make for particularly pretty reading. It might have been hoped that this years figures filed by those companies with more than 250 employees would have shown the difference in pay for men and women narrowing. In fact, by some measures, the gap has actually got worse. For instance, the UKs national median gender pay gap for full-time workers in public and private sector organisations is now 9.6 per cent, compared to 9.2 per cent last year.
We all like to have fun at work. Lets be honest, we are there for long enough that anything we can do to raise a laugh and help pass the time must be a good thing, right? Well, up to a point. Because there is a point at which humour, banter and the like can cross a line and become harassment. And its a line all companies must know how to tread for both their own good and that of their staff.