How Unconscious is your bias?

The coffee giant Starbucks was at the centre of a huge race relations row recently when two black customers were ejected from the store by the Manager after he refused to let them use the toilet.

There was an unconscious bias against these customers based on the colour of their skin. The coffee chain — aware that they may suffer damage to their reputation as a result — issued a public apology and then announced that all staff would undertake Unconscious Bias training and that thousands of stores would close to ensure that this training was mandated.

Aware that public opinion in America could quickly turn against the coffee chain Starbucks acted quickly. Vox pops taken a few days after the announcement that Starbucks were introducing mandatory training on unconscious bias seemed to go down well especially in the Afro American population

“Being an African American, we think this is an America thing, not a Starbucks thing. But for them to publicly say they’re going to do diversity training is good. They addressed it, not wiping it under the rug.”

We are all guilty of making instant unconscious decisions about other people.

We treat people differently based on what they look and sound like. If they look and sound different to us we may — without realising — make an instant judgement on their ability to perform a task or fulfil a role.

Anybody running a business must ensure that staff are treated fairly. That recruitment decisions are based on ability not appearance. That people are not held back on promotion because they do not fit what the manager imagines to be the ideal candidate.

Awareness training

Could a greater awareness and a practical approach help to overcome this common hurdle at work?
Starbucks — by acting quickly and ensuring staff were trained- brought a greater awareness not only with their own organisational development but also to the public at large.

If you are responsible for making personnel decision — or if you want to ensure that your staff challenge their own unconscious biases — you should consider training.

The consequences of not doing so may not be as drastic for your organisation as there were for the famous coffee chain but by raising awareness you are protecting your business from claims of discrimination and perhaps more importantly — promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion.

If you’re new to online staff training, you’ll find that eLearning is a quick, affordable and effective means of delivering training to anywhere between five and 100,000+ employees:

  • it provides systematic, standardised training across multiple employees that can be repeated as needed
  • can be rolled-out for existing employees and also as part of your induction process for new employees
  • can be edited to accommodate your organisation’s branding, specific policies, documents etc. or fully customised to your organisational requirements
  • there are no traveling costs or costly days away from the office, as learners can study from multiple devices, any time, anywhere, all at once or in bite-size chunks to fit around work commitments
  • multi-user licenses and multi-year contracts ensure that costs are kept to a minimum

At Engage in Learning, whether you’re an SME or require a global enterprise roll-out, we can provide you with data protection awareness training for all staff or a fully comprehensive version for those working directly with data. All our courses are fully editable or we can provide a fully customised version to suit your specific needs.

Don’t leave your organisation at risk, consider your Unconscious Bias training options now.

We are happy to provide you with free, full access to our eLearning course so you can complete it for yourselves and see just how fast, easy and engaging it is to train staff anytime, anywhere, in multiple languages and with a full auditable trail for your organisation’s peace of mind and legal transparency. Give it a try, you’ll see that we’re an award-winning eLearning solutions provider for a reason.


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