Introduction:

Having a diverse, inclusive company has staggeringly positive impacts. However, unconscious bias can get in the way of true diversity and inclusivity.

Unconscious bias is fundamentally harmful, as it leads to an unfair, unethical - and potentially even toxic - environment at work.

The best way to counter bias is through unconscious bias training.

This guide will take users through the steps of realizing what bias is, recognizing the negative aspects of bias, in addition to providing actionable methods to shed bias.

If you're looking to establish and sustain diversity and inclusivity at your workplace, have all of your company's employees undergo this training every quarter.

Confirm basic details:

So the training facilitators can see who is undergoing this unconscious bias training and when, the first task will ask you to add your basic details such as name, department, job title, email and the date.

The second task will ask you to select what you identify as and with.

Add your basic details

Add your basic details in the name, department, job title, email, and date fields below.

Filling
out your information in the corresponding form fields will help to inform the HR team of who's undergone the unconscious bias training.

Select the diversity groups you identify with

Select the diversity groups you identify with from the dropdown below, choosing all that are relevant.

Information regarding the groups you select is not of interest to the HR team, nor will it be used for diversity data collection. Instead, it will inform how you complete the upcoming perspective-taking activities (tasks 12, 13, 14, and 15).

  • 1
    Under 40
  • 2
    Over 40
  • 3
    White
  • 4
    East asian
  • 5
    South asian
  • 6
    South east asian
  • 7
    American indian
  • 8
    Alaskan native
  • 9
    Pacific islander
  • 10
    Black
  • 11
    Middle eastern
  • 12
    Hispanic or latino
  • 13
    Mixed race
  • 14
    Male
  • 15
    Female
  • 16
    Gender non-conforming
  • 17
    Heterosexual
  • 18
    Homosexual
  • 19
    Bisexual
  • 20
    Pansexual
  • 21
    Asexual
  • 22
    Queer
  • 23
    Christian
  • 24
    Catholic
  • 25
    Protestant
  • 26
    Mormon
  • 27
    Jehovah's witness
  • 28
    Jewish
  • 29
    Muslim
  • 30
    Buddhist
  • 31
    Sikh
  • 32
    Agnostic
  • 33
    Atheist
  • 34
    Has a disability/disabilities
  • 35
    Veteran
  • 36
    Parent or carer
  • 37
    Non-traditional educational background

Regarding the list above, to help inform our inclusive use of language, we used SurveyMonkey's guide, and based the options on their suggestions.

Defining unconscious bias:

For some, ‘unconscious bias’ may be a new term. The next section of this unconscious bias training guide will help you gain a solid understanding of what unconscious bias is.

Learn the basics of unconscious bias training

Learn the basics of unconscious bias by watching the visual resource below.

Everybody has biases concerning how we see and feel about other human beings. These biases have been instilled in us from an early age. But that doesn’t mean that, as adults in the 21st century, we should let our biases go unchecked. Work can be done to relinquish internalized biases.

The Equality Network for Equality & Inclusion (ENEI) created this informative video on unconscious bias. Watch their video to learn the basics of unconscious bias.

What is unconscious bias?

Define unconscious bias yourself

Define unconscious bias by writing out a definition of it using your own words.

Now that you’ve been informed of what unconscious bias is, it’s time to define it yourself using the underneath text box.

By defining unconscious bias using your own words, you will gain a better grasp of what unconscious bias is.

Unconscious bias in the workplace:

Seeing as we spend 1/3 of our lives at work, there’s a significant chance that biases will manifest in the workplace.

The following section focuses on how unconscious bias can crop up in the workplace, and the negative impact that biases have.

Read examples of workplace unconscious bias

Read through the examples of workplace unconscious bias presented in the ELI blog post.

ELI, a U.S.-based training company, wrote a great blog post in which they outline 5 types of unconscious bias that can appear in the workplace. Read through the article to understand the workplace impracticalities of unconscious bias.

While the article is particularly useful in demonstrating different kinds of bias, it's not an exhaustive list. Other types of bias could range from biases toward people of differing sexualities, to biases against people who practice certain religions.

Understand the negative impact of unconscious bias

Understand how unconscious bias has a negative impact on employees.

Unconscious bias can primarily affect people emotionally and psychologically. However, the impact of bias can go far deeper. Below you'll find a list of 5 work-related implications of unconscious bias. Read them to understand the negative implications of bias.

This is not an exhaustive list. There are many other ways bias affects people both in work and in other areas of life.

Undermined recruiting efforts

Unconscious biases get in the way of recruiting the right people in lieu of people you share common traits with. This is what's known as affinity bias.

Disengagement from workers

Studies show employees working at larger companies who perceive bias are almost 3x more likely to be disengaged at work. If an employee feels they aren't being given the same opportunities as their colleagues due to bias, they won't be as productive.

Higher employee turnover

Employees who perceive bias are more than 60% more likely to search for other roles. This has multiple implications. Firstly, the person in question doesn't have job stability due to perceived bias. Secondly, if they do leave, this ultimately costs the company 50%-60% of an annual salary to find a direct replacement.

Diminished psychological safety

Psychological safety in the workplace is paramount; without it, employees can't do their best work. But without feeling like they're a part of a safe and inclusive environment - which biases certainly impact - feelings of psychological safety will be diminished. 

Heavy emotional toll

Experiencing negative bias can have massive repercussions on a person's emotional state. People who perceive negative bias are 2x more likely to feel anger and sadness, according to studies. 

Seeing from different perspectives:

Seeing from the perspective of others is a fundamental part of shedding our biases. By putting ourselves in the shoes of other people, it helps us understand why certain actions can be hurtful, harmful, or reductive.

Choose a diversity group you don't identify with

Choose a diversity group from the dropdown underneath that you don't identify with.

In task 4, you chose groups directly related to your identity. Now, select a group that you do not identify with. For instance, if you're a black male under 40, choose options such as 'middle eastern' or 'female'.

Regarding the list above, to help inform our inclusive use of language, we used SurveyMonkey's guide, and based the options on their suggestions.

Imagine the kinds of biases the group face

Imagine the kinds of biases the group you chose face, and note those biases down.

Put yourself in the shoes of the group you chose in the previous task. Imagine the kinds of biases they may be up against, and may have to deal with on a daily basis. Think about how others may internally perceive and think about them; how others interact or don't interact with them; how they may be included or uninvited to certain activities. Think of as many biases as possible.

Once you've thought of all the biases this group face, write them down in the text field below.

Write a response to biases from their perspective

Write a first-person response to the biases from their perspective.

Imagine yourself as a member of the community you chose in task 12. Think again about the kinds of biases which affect them both at work and in wider life. Now write a first-person response, written from the group member's perspective to those biases, detailing:

  • How the biases make them feel
  • The ways in which they have to change/hide aspects of themselves to avoid biases
  • Why the biases are wrong
  • How they would benefit from not having to face biases

The response should be written in first-person, meaning "I" is used instead of "they" or "them".

Provide research against biases that stem from stereotypes

Provide links to research which counters stereotypes.

Many negative unconscious biases stem from stereotypes concerning certain people or groups of people. By finding evidence against stereotypes, our own biases can be proven to be illegitimate.

Think of the stereotypes that affect the diversity group you chose in task 12. Think about how biases play into stereotypes. Now undergo research to counter those stereotypes, and provide the links to your research below.

Reducing human bias:

After putting yourself in the position of others and understanding how bias can impact people, it's time to reduce these biases by taking conscious action. The following tasks will inform you of actionable ways to shed bias.

Read Facebook's bias reduction list

Read Facebook's bias reduction list, titled "What You Can Do".

Facebook has released a mass of material relating to unconscious bias management. The reduction list below - taken from their own unconscious bias training program - provides suggestions on what you can do to reduce bias. Read through them.

Many of these actions should be featured in your company's code of conduct policy or employee handbook.

What you can do

Watch Facebook's training video on bias

Watch Facebook's training video on unconscious bias. 

The video below discusses how to manage unconscious bias, thereby improving diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Before making their process for managing unconscious bias public, Facebook gave its employees the exact same training.

Watch the video below. If you want to view more of Facebook's bias-reducing resources, they have a range here.

Managing unconscious bias

Read through Google's re:Work guide

Read through Google's re:Work guide on unbiasing.

In 2015, Google launched an initiative called re:Work. re:Work is a site which provides guides, training, and other useful resources for companies looking to become more diverse and inclusive. Although primarily aimed at HR teams, the tools they provide are useful for everyone.

Their Unbiasing page focuses entirely on unconscious bias. Read through their resources to gain additional insight into unbiasing practices used by one of the world's leading companies.

Learn about the LKM method

Learn about the LKM (Loving-kindness Meditation, otherwise known as Mettā) method of meditation.

For over a decade, meditation has been a useful tool in unconscious bias training. Not only does the LKM method, in particular, have positive benefits for the person practicing it, but also has benefits for how they see and feel toward other people. Research has shown that 7 minutes of meditation can reduce racial prejudice.

"The researchers measured levels of positive emotions that were either 'other-regarding' (e.g. love, gratitude, awe, elevation) and those that were more self-directed (e.g. contentment, joy, pride) and found that people doing LKM showed large increases specifically in other-regarding emotions. These other-regarding emotions were found to be what drives the reduction of bias." - ScienceDaily.

Click on the following links to learn more about LKM:

  1. Loving-Kindness Meditation
  2. Brief loving-kindness meditation reduces racial bias, mediated by positive other-regarding emotions

Register your interest to practice LKM

Register your interest to practice LKM by using the email widget below.

By registering your interest to practice LKM, an HR manager can then set up LKM sessions. If you are interested, send an email to an HR manager.

Once you type information into the 'HR manager name' and 'HR manager email' boxes, the information will then automatically be pulled into the email widget, with thanks to variables. All you need to do afterward is hit send.

Prepare to engage with others about biases

Prepare to engage with others about shared biases in a face-to-face setting.

Discussion around biases is critical; by understanding that others have similar unconscious biases, it means we're not alone and we can work together to undo unconscious biases. 

In the next task (which has already been assigned to them via role assignments), the HR manager will begin to facilitate a 30-minute discussion regarding biases for you and others who have undergone this training. The discussion will be a safe place in which the group can think, interrogate, and talk about biases, and then collaborate on overcoming them.

While the HR manager completes task 23, move on to task 24 to complete the rest of the training.

Organize a 30-minute discussion regarding biases

Organize a 30-minute discussion regarding biases for the person undergoing this training and others.

The person undergoing the training is now ready to discuss unconscious bias in a group setting, with an HR employee facilitating the talk. Set up a 30-minute discussion for them and others within the next month.

Once organized, add the date and time, as well as the name of the person facilitating the talk.

Post-training task:

The unconscious bias training is almost complete. The final step is to draw on what you've learned and apply it going forward, so that unconscious bias can be diminished both in the workplace and beyond.

List 3 ways for you to reduce biases

List 3 ways for you to reduce biases, drawing on actions and steps suggested in previous tasks.

Now that the initial training has come to an end, it's time to put what you've learned into practice. Choose 3 bias-reducing actions you'll use going forward.

By applying these actions, they will set you on the path to effectively reducing unconscious biases. Seeing as everybody else undergoing this training will choose 3 actions themselves, in time, the workplace should become far more harmonious.

Sources:

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