Unconscious biases refer to stereotypes that an individual makes regarding a specific group of people outside their own conscious awareness. These biases encompass both unfavourable and favourable assessments and are activated involuntarily and without the awareness or intentional control of a person. They are influenced by factors including the person’s personal experiences, culture, and background. When people use these biases in decisions and interactions, they result in discrimination. When this happens in the workplace, workers face multiple problems.
Unconscious bias has tangible impacts on hiring, feedback, and promotions. For instance, word selection in job descriptions might discourage women from applying since they see a work environment as one that’s focused more on masculine characteristics. Since implicit biases can have negative impacts on employee morale, it is essential that employers consider combating them in the workplace. You could be wondering why providing unconscious bias training is helpful to employees; keep reading.
First of all, unconscious bias training creates awareness that unconscious bias does exist and enables them to take steps to lower the probability that bias will affect decisions. Training participants come to understand that even when they don’t consciously support a stereotype or label, it can influence their attitude as well as behaviour outside their cognizant awareness. Raising awareness is vital in fighting the influence of inherent bias. When individuals come to know that they have implicit prejudice, it is more probable that they will take steps to slow down their resolution-making process. This enables their more rational brain to make choices instead of depending on their instinct that can be manipulated by bias. Hence, unconscious bias training will help workers to labour towards inclusion by becoming more conscious of hidden prejudice and taking steps to lessen the impacts of biases on others.
We now look at the effective instructional design rules for unconscious bias training. When implementing this training, there are some key elements employers should recall. First, unconscious bias training isn’t preaching to workers. Unconscious bias training ought to foster conversations and let workers confront their prejudices; it shouldn’t be about shaming or blaming employees. Secondly, unconscious bias training must not indicate that individuals are intentionally sexist, racist, or hold other prejudices; these biases are by nature unintentional and unconscious. Thirdly, unconscious bias training ought to explain that each person can be both a perpetrator and a victim of the bias. Prejudices are based more solely on one’s protected characteristics. Irrespective of workers’ protected characteristics, for example, age, gender, disability or race, they could also be the casualty of prejudice based on other elements such as weight, appearance, and height. It is crucial to train workers in the various biases they may hold as well as how to stop them. In addition, unconscious bias training is supposed to teach workers practical stems they may take in order to make workplaces more inclusive. Such actions include questioning automatic assumptions, avoiding overgeneralizations and labels, and setting ground regulations for meeting so that every idea is heard. Training workers in these actions is the first step in assisting them to recognize their unaware biases and start to combat them.