Many people have some kind of unconscious bias. And this is something that can affect their decisions and judgments. You will also find that the basis of these biases are stereotypes and fixed beliefs. So, to take this on at work, companies are using unconscious bias training tools to create more inclusive workplaces. These workplaces promote innovation, fairness, equality, teamwork, and understanding for others.
When employees learn about biases and understand how they affect others, organizations can support equality and diversity. So, this makes companies more appealing to skilled workers and creates a better workplace. It also boosts creativity, teamwork, and profits.
How bias shapes decision making
There are many examples of how bias shapes decision-making in the workplace, such as during the recruitment, hiring, and career development of many people.
For example, a NatCen Social Research study in the UK found that white job applicants were 74% more likely to be hired compared with people from different ethnic groups with the same credentials on their CVs.
Helping employees recognize and get rid of biases can make a big difference for individuals, society, and companies in the long run. So, training staff to spot biases can be empowering. It can also be life-changing for many people and businesses.
Below we explore what unconscious bias is, how training can help eliminate this type of bias, and we look at how text analyzer tools, the Implicit Association Test, and training aimed at encouraging diverse group discussions and empathy can all act as catalysts for change, minimizing workplace bias.
What is unconscious bias?
Unconscious bias, also called unintentional bias or implicit bias, is typically something many people are not even aware of, but it affects how we perceive and interact with people and the decisions we make.
Oftentimes biases develop over time and are based on personal experiences, stereotypes, how the media depicts or reacts to situations, and cultural influences.
Unconscious bias can shape our world and society, and can have lasting impacts and consequences.
Sometimes, without realizing it, people can show bias when hiring. For example, a manager might choose someone from their own university. This, ignoring others with similar qualifications from different backgrounds.
This can keep unfairness, discrimination, and differences going. It can also make organizations not work as well. So, bias can make workplaces less diverse. And, as a result, this also stops people from working together, being creative, and finding new solutions.
How training can help to eliminate unconscious bias
To address unconscious bias in the workplace, various unconscious bias training methods and tools have been developed.
Even though these efforts can help, it’s vital to understand that stopping unconscious bias should be a regular part of how organizations operate. So, training alone isn’t enough to get rid of structural discrimination and bias. You also need consistency and rules. Training should be continuous, not just a one-time event, to make a real difference.
And yes, generally, training is about helping people become more aware of their own biases. But you need to also help staff to manage bias and change their behavior. Training that avoids this, may not be successful in creating any lasting behavior change.
Unconscious bias training should teach employees how biases can impact their work decisions. So, these decisions, like hiring, firing, promotions, and considering different opinions, can affect many things. Training that addresses bias in decision-making can also make decisions more inclusive, fair, and without judgment.
Training and workshops can help people develop the skills needed to address bias, and provide a platform where diverse perspectives can be shared. But training alone is not a panacea to eliminate bias.
Addressing structural bias
To fix structural bias in companies, you can create rules and methods to reduce bias. So, companies need to keep an eye on how much bias is happening and check if they are becoming more diverse and inclusive.
So companies may choose to standardize their hiring procedures to make them more fair and bias-free. Or they may want to do away with asking staff to do self-assessments when conducting performance reviews to help eliminate bias.
While the right type of training may have positive outcomes, it’s worth noting that many attempts at unconscious bias training have been unsuccessful at changing behavior. Sometimes, companies only give unconscious bias training once or just talk about the issue without making big changes. But to truly make a difference, companies need to provide ongoing training and use tools regularly. So, this training should cover everyone in the company. And its impact should be measured over time to see if things are improving.
3 unconscious bias training tools
Unconscious bias training tools help organizations to be more diverse and fair. While they don’t solve everything, they can improve behavior. This is especially true when you use them with company rules and methods.
1. Text Analyzer
Tools like Text Analyzer use smart technology to find bias. So, they can spot unfair language using advanced AI.
These tools can identify instances of overt or explicit bias. But there are also more subtle forms of bias to look out for. These tools can categorize types of bias such as racial bias, gender bias, socioeconomic bias, ethnic bias, or age bias.
You can also Text Analyzer to assess various types of communication – from emails, to company publications.
Some of the benefits of using unconscious bias training tools like Text Analyzer include their ability to:
- provide an objective analysis of text,
- provide feedback on data immediately,
- To be customized for particular organizations so that they can develop unconscious bias training based on the results of text analysis feedback,
- scale the identification of bias across organizations of any size.
The Ongig Text Analyzer tool helps companies, recruiters, and employers to identify and eliminate bias from job descriptions…fast. Using these tools can help you hire the best people without scaring them away due to biased statements that they might find unfair.
Ongig’s Text Analyzer can detect racism, ageism, gender, ableism, and more in job descriptions. It helps companies to be more inclusive. It also helps them to attract a diverse range of talented people to their job ads.
2. Implicit Association Test
To stop unfair judgments, provide training to remove bias. Such training might begin by explaining what implicit bias is and how it can harm people. So, this can mean not being chosen for jobs or promotions in the workplace.
The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is a common tool in bias training. After an initial training session, it shows people words and images on a computer screen. So, the test measures how quickly they react to questions. And this helps assess their personal levels of bias.
Once participants can identify and acknowledge their own biases, they then get tools as well as ways to overcome these.
This means learning to gather more information about people before making judgments. It also involves putting yourself in someone else’s place to understand their perspective better.
So, it means talking to people from different backgrounds, races, genders, or religions in your office. This helps you get to know them better and understand their points of view.
Tracking the progress of UB training
Companies can set up ways to check how well their bias training is going. This helps them see if they need to do more and how much they’ve improved over time.
It’s important to note that the IAT is based on complex science, and it can be challenging to communicate the results. This can mean that participants may feel angered, confused, or shocked by results and finding out that they may have bias.
If a trainer uses this test, they should tell everyone it’s meant to show hidden biases that we all have. Even in small ways. So, this test is the first step to removing bias in the whole organization. And everyone needs to work together to be more inclusive, fair, and equal.
3. Encourage diverse group discussions and empathy
Training that lets people talk with coworkers and meet different people are vital. These trainings can help build friendships, expand social circles, and lessen bias.
In a work context, these training sessions can help colleagues get to know each other better. If there is diversity within the team, then this can help to create more inclusion, empathy, and understanding among staff from different backgrounds, races, ages, and ethnicities.
Having guest speakers from minority groups talk about their experiences with bias during training can be useful. It creates a chance for discussions, understanding, and empathy. It also helps to make a comfortable space where everyone can ask questions.
You can enhance training sessions like these by encouraging people to feel empathy for what it’s like to be someone else. When people experience empathy, they are often less likely to act in a discriminatory or hurtful way towards others, and less likely to develop or display bias.
In training sessions, people can practice empathy by pretending to be in someone else’s shoes. And this helps them to understand bias from different points of view. So, they can watch videos where others share their bias experiences. Thus, sparking discussions and giving ideas fr how to remove bias at work.
These training sessions can lessen prejudice and discrimination, making the workplace more united and cooperative. The training should encourage people to ask questions and talk about their experiences with bias. This way, they can discuss how to overcome bias together.
Final thoughts on overcoming bias through training
Companies around the world are taking action to be more diverse, inclusive, equitable and fair. One way to do this is to address bias within organizations by using a range of different bias training tools.
There are a range of training methods used to achieve behavior change when it comes to bias, such as the use of Text Analyzer or similar tools, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), and encouraging diverse group discussions and empathy.
And yes, training methods and tools can help reduce bias. But it’s important to address systemic reasons for bias and prejudice across organizations. It is also vital to view training as an ongoing process rather than a once-off activity.
So, companies need to check if they’re making progress in hiring diverse people and being inclusive. They should also measure their efforts and see if they’re reaching their goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Training and tools alone aren’t enough. So, companies also need rules and methods that actively promote diversity and inclusion.