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We are all biased...
September 28, 2022 at 9:00 AM

“It’s not at all hard to understand a person; it’s only hard to listen without a bias.” — Criss Jami

What do you see when you look at the picture above? Your understanding or interpretation of these ink blots is influenced by your individual experiences, personal background, and societal influence. Implicit bias works the same way.

Implicit or unconscious bias, refers to unintentional subconscious beliefs that can distort our interpretation of the world around us and lead to biased behavior toward others. It is the patterns our brains create based on our experiences that influence how we make decisions and understand the world. It is important to remember that while we may fight against them, everyone has biases, and the unconscious beliefs we hold about others do not necessarily align with our conscious declared beliefs.

It is then essential for organizations to help their teams understand their own bias as a way of fostering an inclusive workplace culture. This healthy workplace culture is essential to retaining talent and driving growth. DEIB training helps employees can help counteract the biases they have and build an inclusive, culturally aware, and emotionally intelligent workplace. The first step in promoting DEIB in the workplace involves implicit bias training.

What is implicit bias training?

Implicit bias training aims to help participants recognize the biases in their thinking, how that thinking can affect their emotional responses, and provide techniques to counteract or modify those biases.

By exposing participants to scenarios that include different races, ethnicities, ages, genders, and sexualities, attendees can begin to recognize how their own beliefs might reflect harmful stereotypes. They are then encouraged to challenge their views by considering alternative perspectives.

Being aware of how bias can cloud judgment, decision-making, or actions toward others, individuals can work to avoid acting on them in situations where they could negatively impact others.

What are the benefits of implicit bias training?

The idea that the world is a biased place has been around for a long time. However, it was only recently that researchers began investigating how implicit bias affects decision-making, especially how it affects hiring practices and workplace culture. For example, take a look at an employer’s recruiting process, is it possible that the names of the candidates have an effect on the rate at which those with ethnically sounding names are advanced in the process? Or are there systems in place, such as blinding resumes that allow for interviewers to judge the merits of the candidate on their experience alone?

There are several ways your organization can benefit from implicit bias training. For example, a startup might want to recruit a diverse workforce to drive creativity and innovation. With implicit bias training in place, you can prevent misunderstandings from occurring that can lead to productivity-sapping conflicts. In addition, implicit bias training can:

  • Increase your awareness of the issues surrounding implicit bias and how you might be unconsciously perpetuating them
  • Help you identify potential blind spots in your thinking when it comes to race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, and age.
  • Help you develop strategies for overcoming blind spots and develop a diverse and inclusive workforce as a result.

How can you counter Implicit Bias?

One way to counter implicit bias is to slow down when it comes to decision-making to allow for more intentional and deliberate thinking (what Daniel Kahneman calls System 2 thinking). If you are interested in additional ways of helping your organization reduce implicit bias, schedule a consultation with Socius Strategies. Socius means partner, ally, or associate in Latin. Our services differ from the usual outsourced training providers who deliver readymade DEIB programs. At Socius, we use a collaborative approach to diversity and inclusion training tailored to each client’s unique needs. We aim to offer business solutions that create a workplace of belonging with high employee engagement.