Implicit bias, in easier words, means conventional and orthodox ideas rooted in someone’s consciousness. This bias often leads to workplace discrimination, and companies today are held liable for not resolving implicit bias-related issues. In order to prevent this workplace issue, it is necessary to conduct implicit bias training to make the professional environment a happy one.
Implicit Bias – An Overview
Implicit bias can be called both
- Diversity bias and,
- Unconscious bias
It means pre-existing ideas and fixed ways of looking at things. This refers to the attitudes and stereotypes that unconsciously affect our actions, decisions, and understanding.
This may not sound like much. But a workplace can be negatively affected by these biases.
The implicit and unconscious associations that we harbor within ourselves make us treat people differently in terms of their
- Sexual identity
- Sexual orientation
These are different from known biases. We know that known biases include being biased over a political party or a football team. These biases are developed at a very early age through direct or indirect mentoring and messages.
Everyone has implicit bias. It is pervasive and infiltrates spaces that it should not. Even a court judge who should not have implicit bias has them. They cannot be completely uprooted, but they can be made to stay dormant with the right training.
Explicit and implicit biases are not mutually exclusive; they can reinforce each other. They are not completely different but are distinct in mental constructs. We are not aware that we have these constructs. They may even go against our declared stance.
Although research has shown that we can hold an implicit bias against our in-group, it is very rare. Usually, the characteristics of our in-group are what make us develop an implicit bias.
Implicit biases can be suppressed and subjugated. The complex functions of our brains allow us to actually defeat the purpose of having implicit biases.
Types of Implicit Bias
As per Malcolm Gladwell’s survey, about four percent of adult American men were 6 feet or taller, but the percentage of CEOs of more than 33 percent of them belong in this category. This is because height is often unconsciously associated with success, much like gender.
Mentioned below are other common forms of bias that can be seen in workplaces.
- Race or Ethnicity Bias
Race or ethnicity bias is when people assume certain things about other people based on their ethnicity. For example, people think Asian students are automatically good at math, or all Hispanic individuals are English language learners. The problem with implicit bias is they tend to make us take actions based on their background.
- Age Bias
This happens when people are rejected from places because of their age. It can be in many forms, like not hiring a middle-aged person for the social media managing position because they’re assumed to be not tech-savvy because of their age.
- Gender Bias
Gender bias is when people think one particular gender is suited better for particular jobs like — women are better suited for babysitting and men are better suited as mechanics.
- LGBTQIA+ Community Bias
This includes believing that homosexual men have a better sense eid design or fashion and hiring them. It also includes not pairing them with male work partners, overlooking bisexuals for leadership positions because they “cannot make up their mind”.
- Affinity Bias
This is the tendency to gravitate towards people who are similar to themselves.
- Beauty Bias
The tendency to treat attractive people more favorably according to your own standards of beauty. It involves other forms of bias that are based on,
- Weight Bias
The tendency to judge someone or assume negative things about a person who is overweight.
Implicit Bias Training
As of now, you have seen how deeply a workplace and professional setting like court proceedings or university exams can be affected by implicit bias and understand how important it is to eliminate them.
There are a lot of different ways to eliminate implicit bias through training.
Introspecting or thinking before and after acting on your inherent bias is very important. This will help you recognize your bias.
Seeing a person as only a person and not as a part of their in-group.
- Institutionalized Fairness
Fairness has to be imposed sometimes by the institution. The AAFP suggests that individuals use their Equity and Empowerment Lens.
- Invest Time
Subjugating implicit bias will take time. People grow up with implicit bias so make sure you invest time.
Implicit Bias Training Techniques
- Baseline Assessment
Participants have to take basic tests to analyze their biases, totally with the IAT. After completing the training task, they have to take a post-test to evaluate the level of bias left.
In perspective-taking, the first thing a trainee has to do is watch some videos on discrimination against a minority group or interact with them. Then the trainee has to imagine themselves as the person being discriminated against. Then they have to take the IAT again.
- Counter Stereotypes
Counter stereotypes have been proven the most effective method of eliminating implicit bias. Listening to empowered women to eliminate gender stereotypes or seeing more women CEOs can be a good way to subjugate implicit bias.
Meditation is a common western therapeutic technique. It helps to elevate your mood in general. In 2008, meditation was incorporated into implicit bias training using Loving Kindness meditation (LKM), which “aims to self-regulate an affective state of unconditional kindness towards the self and others.”
Negation basically means proving that the information based on our bias is not true. This breaks the habit of stereotypes.
Implicit Bias Training Cost
With its science-based training and approach, implicit bias training costs for companies can be up to 6000 dollars a day, according to experts. It is a reasonable cost due to its valuable service.
The annual implicit bias training cost can be close to 8 billion dollars. But 28% of employers believe that diversity training helps the work environment. Employees that harbor bias are three times more likely to disengage from work or be inactive. This disengagement, according to Gallup, costs US companies more than 450 billion dollars per annum.
Unconscious bias also brings down the general morale of the workplace, rendering it unhealthy and unfit for productivity. So the 8 billion dollars are worth it.
Most modules of implicit bias training take time to work, and the change isn’t always visible. There are partnership discounts that the companies can access through a long commitment with the agencies that provide the training. It can bring the cost down to 3000 dollars per day without compromising the integrity of the training.
Month-long partnerships with consulting firms can cost up to 50,000 to 100,000 dollars. A one-day course for 50 people costs a minimum of 2000 dollars.
Implicit bias training costs less than the money it saves. There are sufficient and insufficient modules of implicit bias training. And implicit bias training costs can be brought down depending on what modules you will use. Training alone might not be effective in eliminating the bias, but implementing the rules and ethics discussed in training gives the best output.