Implicit Bias Training: 6 Things To Keep In Mind Before Starting The Training

Implicit bias training refers to a training program that every modern organization conducts to curb the prejudiced practices that employees face at a workplace and educate them about the repercussions of practicing workplace biases

Implicit Bias: A Brief Overview 

Implicit bias refers to the opinions, attitudes, and prejudices that a person or a group of people own about another person or group of individuals. However, as it includes the term implicit, it indicates that people with these biases cannot pinpoint where these opinions come from or why they have them. 

While every person across the globe has some implicit biases, the nature of these biases is never universal. They remain rooted in a person’s mind through their individual experiences, backgrounds, and upbringings. For instance, some people usually have preferences related to ethnic groups, including their own. 

However, even when these implicit biases are unintentional, they can harm the efficiency and productivity of an organization, especially in these modern times where globalization gave rise to multinational corporations with a diverse group of employees. It is where implicit bias training comes into play to help organizations teach their employees some practical ways to overcome their unconscious biases. 

Also, the objective of these implicit bias training programs is to familiarize the employees working in an organization about particular invisible prejudices that they may own towards their colleagues. Employees participating in this implicit bias training program can readily determine underlying biases or negative opinions that they may hold towards another person. 

Key Considerations for an Efficient Implicit Bias Training 

If every employee enters the workplace with prejudices, how can the HR team prevent bias? Implicit bias training remains intended to assist workers in understanding and reducing the role of unconscious bias prevalent within their company. Through discussion and education, implicit bias training strategies help employees understand ways to identify and address their prejudices. 

Likewise, successful implicit bias training boosts diversity and more equitable treatment of workers, job prospects, and industry partners. However, implicit bias training is not as easy as it might look, as it can be challenging to influence or persuade people to change their lifelong beliefs. 

So to ensure that your implicit bias training never does more harm than good, you must keep in mind the following considerations. 

  • Choose the right counselor to lead your implicit bias training

The success of your implicit bias training relies principally on the counselor managing and imparting the training. Most essentially, the counselor must be highly competent and expert in presenting this training in various workplaces with diversity issues. 

The person must remain proficient in expressing the psychology behind implicit prejudice and inform how it connects to typical workplace scenarios. Also, it is likewise crucial to pick a person who aligns with your overall organizational culture. For instance, if you operate in a relaxed, fun environment, your employees might not react well to monotonous training.

  • Structure your implicit bias training over an extended period

Almost every person spent their entire life working under and building diverse prejudices without recognizing them. Hence, it might not be wrong to say that employees cannot comprehend and overcome such profoundly rooted psychological constructs throughout a single implicit bias training session. 

Therefore, it is prudent to structure your implicit bias training into brief, frequent sessions rather than conducting a long training session as it can be quite taxing for the employees. Also, multiple implicit bias training sessions promote the duration and recurrence needed to enact noteworthy change.

  • Try to prioritize awareness

A comprehensive implicit bias training extends actionable recommendations to assist employees in managing their prejudices, but it shouldn’t begin there. Instead, your training must start with explaining what are implicit biases, and why is it crucial to understand and overcome implicit bias? Start by defining implicit prejudice and where it stems from in an organization. 

Prejudices arise from a wide variety of elements that remain distinctive for every person: their culture, experiences, friend groups, memories, childhood, and so on. Therefore, it becomes crucial to describe how each of these elements adds to unconscious biases and how your workforce can overcome them. 

Apart from this, when conducting implicit bias training, you must remain direct and open about the adverse consequences of implicit bias in an organization and the world in general. You can also offer detailed illustrations that show the outcomes of implicit prejudice, both on an expansive scale and a personal, human level. 

However, never merely concentrate on the negativity encompassing implicit bias. Try to equally highlight how valuable it is to maintain a diverse and inclusive workforce. Once your workforce gets emotionally involved in fixing the problem, they’ll be more determined to follow your implicit bias training program.

  • Provide measures to address implicit bias

Now that your implicit bias training helped your workforce identify their biases, what lies ahead? What can they do to fight prejudices they’re not deliberately displaying? If you cannot find an answer to this question, your implicit bias training initiatives are still lacking actionable insights. So to better address your implicit biases and gain actionable insights, ensure that you use elaborate, applicable illustrations as you discuss the measures your employees can take after implicit bias training. 

In addition, you can offer various hypothetical scenarios where ingrained prejudice impacts an employee’s movements or decision-making. These circumstances may relate to a recruitment decision, a regular conference, or even an informal lunchtime communication. 

In every scenario, try to describe what the hypothetical worker could have done to reduce the outcomes of their bias. This way, your team can better relate to these examples without feeling like they are getting criticized.

  • Enable flexible scheduling

Sometimes conducting frequent implicit bias training can frustrate and irritate your employees, not because they are insensitive but because bias training cuts into the time they need to spend working. Hence, if your employees remain disgruntled to return to work during the implicit bias training, this would lead you to nowhere. 

Thus, it is better to keep in mind your employees’ convenience and have a flexible implicit bias training schedule. Also, note that calling smaller groups for your training will allow for more interactive and personal sessions, and you’ll accommodate your workforce by letting them attend the training sessions that suit their work schedules.

  • Prioritize communication over lecture 

Hour-long lessons and unlimited slideshows will unquestionably doom your implicit bias training program. So to ensure your employees make the most of your implicit bias training program, you must create an interactive learning environment where the employees remain as vocal as the counselor. 

Initiate a conversation and inspire employees to raise their queries, share their learnings and experiences. Also, you can try to experiment with engaging activities such as simulations, role-playing, and group discussions. While it is understandable that implicit bias is a serious topic, you can still make the training enjoyable to make it engaging. 

In a Nutshell 

To summarize, we can say that when it comes to implicit bias training, there is never a one-size-fits-all approach. A program that works the best for one organization might not benefit the other and vice versa. Hence, the most crucial element of implicit bias training is to create an environment where employees feel engaged, understood, and secure. 

So to accomplish this, you can gather feedback after every training session and continue to modify your training over time. Thus, we can say that with the right strategy, implicit bias training will undoubtedly add more to the workplace culture. 

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