Avoid discrimination and support a culture of diversity in the workplace, everyone has unconscious biases that shape the way we interact with and relate to our colleagues and customers.
- Unconscious Bias for Managers addresses the way implicit bias can affect issues like recruitment, performance management, promotion and team dynamics.
- Unconscious Bias focuses on the impact on customer service interactions with particular focus on the micro-behaviours that aren’t necessarily under our conscious control.
The aim of both courses is to help learners recognise when they might be acting or behaving on the basis of unconscious bias, provide them with ways to challenge those biases and counteract them.
Both courses use though-provoking and challenging activities to highlight the impact of bias; a range of video scenarios to bring the material to life and help learners relate it to their own workplace; and clear explanations and practical techniques to help learners identify, challenge and counteract their own biases.
- Find out what unconscious bias is and its impact on customers and colleagues
- Study a selection of common biases
- Explore a range of techniques to uncover biases
- Follow a systematic process for challenging bias
- Understand how unconscious bias shapes micro-behaviours and the impact on customer service
- Identify the behaviours they need to self-assess for their kind of customer service e.g.: eye contact
- Be aware of the role of habit in building a consistent level of customer service
Unconscious biases shape the way we see the world…
An unconscious bias is a deep-seated prejudice — that we don’t know we have — that can affect how we treat other people. These biases affect how we behave and the decisions we make. We use them automatically, unintentionally and… unconsciously.
A bias can be positive; it can be negative. We all have unconscious biases.
Without unconscious biases we couldn’t make sense of the world and function in real time.
Our eyes, skin, ears, nose and tongue send around 11,000,000 bits of information to our brain every second. Over 90% of that data comes from your eyes. Our brain can consciously manage less than 50 of those bits of information in a second which leaves our unconscious brain to deal with the rest. Fortunately, that can process around a hundred billion operations per second. To do that, it has to take shortcuts — like recognising patterns and making generalisations based on similar data from past experiences.
Hence our brain’s imperative to build implicit biases and stereotypes. In our early history, this mechanism made it possible to avoid being a predator’s lunch!
In a contemporary environment, understanding that we have implicit biases, identifying them if we can and challenging them is reduces the risk of discriminatory behaviour.
Biases are based on what we can observe through our senses: from innate physical characteristics to someone’s name; from cultural values to the way someone dresses.
We tend to define ourselves in terms of our social group. Our unconscious biases are quick to sort people into the group they belong to and the ‘others’. Problems arise if those biases then lead us to discriminate against people in the ‘other’ groups. As high-profile cases of discrimination have proved, multinational organisations have faced heavy fines and public disapproval when someone in their workforce acts in a discriminatory way.
This not only damages the organisational reputation it can also lead to fines and other legal penalties. On an individual basis it can lead to lost sales, poor customer service and – ultimately – dismissal.
It’s worth tackling unconscious bias because even a very small bias can make a significant difference.
Academics from a variety of universities including Columbia, Rice and Montana published a couple of papers on the impact of bias on gender at work.
A computer simulation was developed on the basis of their research. It tracks what happens in a company with 8 seniority levels if promotion is based on performance scores which are biased (1, 5 and 10%) towards a particular group.
The simulation starts with a 1:1 gender ratio at each level. Performance-review scores are randomly generated for employees at every level.As you can see the cumulative impact of a tiny bias is enormous.
Everyone needs to be aware of how unconscious bias affects the way they work
You’ve seen how tiny amounts of bias on performance management and promotion.
We also see it in recruitment – even when a person’s name is the only factor involved. Are scientists biased?
And we see it everywhere in the daily interactions with other members of our team.
Organisations can interrupt bias
A professor of law at UC Hastings published the idea of bias interrupters.
Organisational bias interrupters include systems and processes that aim to build bias out of activities and decisions such as recruitment.
Individuals can interrupt bias by learning to be aware of bias, challenge their assumptions and act on evidence. That takes conscious effort supported by a culture that challenges bias and promotes personal accountability.
Training individuals about unconscious bias, its impact and how to counteract it is the cornerstone of making this happen.
It’s a challenging subject which demands interactive, challenging and stimulating elearning.
We carefully chose to look at behaviours you can measure – like following bias free recruitment and promotion procedures. As well as behaviours you can’t like maintaining the same levels of eye contact and personalised service with every customer.
We varied the types of interactivity we used and harnessed them to keep people engaged and get them thinking and challenging themselves. The great thing about elearning is that this challenge can happen in a safe space – which can help people be more honest with themselves.
We made it relatable with a video narrator who talks rather than teaches. We used scenarios familiar to everyone to recreate a variety of situations showing bias in action, its impact and how to counteract it.
As with all of our courses, our in-course editor makes it a snap to add your own links, processes, guidelines and branding, tailoring the training to your cultural needs. And, if you need more, we can have an experienced customisation unit.