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Giving Notice: Why the Best and the Brightest Leave the Workplace and How You Can Help Them Stay by Freada Kapor Klein

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6.5. Performance Review Audit

I have singled out performance reviews here because they are frequently overlooked and can be a significant source of hidden bias. Look for loaded language that can appear in reviews, as in letters of recommendation (as discussed in Chapter Five). Words like "perky" or "loud" or "aggressive" carry negative implications, while "enthusiastic" or "clear" or "assertive" can mean the same thing but carry more positive implications.

When comparing the performance reviews of minorities versus those of the broader swath of employees, I see that minorities often receive somewhat useless performance reviews because appraisers are worried about liability. Minority employees receive comments like "nice to have around," "good ...

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