I’m sure most of us think of ourselves as people of integrity, of fairly open minds, people who don’t buy into stereotypes. Therefore, when it comes to hiring, we don’t discriminate. Aside from the fact that we have policies and legislation that forbid employment and promotion decisions to be made based on race, sex and ethnicity, the vast majority of us know that these traits mean little to nothing when it comes to performance and potential.
And yet… discrimination is still at play in the workplace. Perhaps we don’t dismiss candidates because their ethnicities are different from our own, but candidates’ appearances can easily factor into our decision making.
Chew on this statistic: according to a recent Wall Street Journal survey, there’s a correlation between exercise and pay. Workers who regularly hit the gym earn, on average, a 9 percent higher income. One explanation for this connection is that people who exercise tend to have greater discipline, a characteristic that easily carries over from one’s personal life into the professional realm. And it’s no stretch to posit that disciplined workers make better managers, contribute to higher productivity and complete tasks on deadline.
The news anchors discussing the piece touch on a common complaint from so many: I just don’t have the time for regular visits to the gym, reasoning that exercising has been shown to boost energy and improve a person’s mood. But the benefit in committing a few hours a week to the gym may mean not only an eventual bump in income, but also a better quality of life in the long run.
Employees might take a cue from these findings and either keep up the good work with regular exercise or bite the bullet and get a gym membership already. However, hiring managers should do a little workout of their own and exercise caution when making employment decisions. Discrimination is out of bounds under any pretext.
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