Implicit Bias In The Workplace: Everything You Need to Know

Implicit Bias In The Workplace: Everything You Need to Know

The Facts

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Implicit bias in the workplace occurs when a person acts on deeply ingrained subconscious attitudes and stereotypes formed from intrinsic human understanding, experiences, environment, and upbringing. In addition, if people act on their gut intuitions, kneejerk responses, or beliefs, there's a possibility they are opening themselves up to implicit bias.

It can imply individuals impacted by their actions might unfairly prejudice against or prefer a person without you even acknowledging, even if they don't believe in stereotypes. Furthermore, implicit bias can happen in the form of unconscious racial or gender discrimination or numerous other ingrained prejudices. 

How can implicit bias affect your organization?

Implicit biases can take a tremendous toll on your workforce productivity and may cost your company significant money, time and reputation if you do not address them appropriately. Here are some ways how implicit bias can affect your workplace. 

  • Implicit bias in hiring restricts entrance to top talent. Also, even when you carefully vet your hiring and recruitment processes for implicit biases, it is crucial to review them frequently. It ensures that your diverse hiring strategy grows and your hiring team is up-to-date on best industry practices.
  • Homogenous workplace culture can be a significant detriment to creative thinking and imagination.
  • If not handled accurately, implicit biases may become evident in homogenous organizational cultures. The injustice of marginalized workers may escalate to harassment or other kinds of workplace prejudice.
  • Employees who feel unsafe or alienated due to implicit prejudice in the workplace are less likely to want to stay with your organization. It can lead to high employee turnover and a negative company brand reputation.
  • Workers who feel unsafe at work further feel less engaged at work. It impacts the quality and productivity of the overall business culture and confidence.

Understanding the purpose of implicit bias training 

The modern organization remains characterized by the workforce coming from diverse backgrounds along with other aspects. Given the rise in multinational corporations and technological advancement, it is only natural that individuals from across the globe gather in a single facility to carry out crucial company operations. 

The objective of implicit bias training programs is to enlighten the employees about specific invisible prejudices that they may own towards their colleagues. Being an extended arm of diversity and inclusion training, an individual partaking in this implicit bias training program will determine underlying biases or perceptions that they may have towards another individual.

Challenges faced while implementing an implicit bias training

According to recent research, implicit bias training can become impractical for different reasons. The reasons why implicit prejudice training needs proper planning and execution is because of the below reasons: 

  • Societal criterion

Prejudice is one of the most devastating invisible elements of society. In every circumstance, prejudice gets instilled in the people as a person is not born holding specific preconceptions. 

Thus, something that has remained part of one's upbringing and even communications will lead to profoundly ingrained prejudice. Therefore, implicit bias training must eliminate opinions that have become a standard in society. 

  • Private efforts

One of the principal reasons your implicit bias training may not be efficient is that it concentrates only on awareness. It leaves the burden of restraining unconscious prejudice on the participants, leading to numerous workers ignoring the significance of getting rid of such beliefs.

  • Reinforcing impact

Conducting implicit bias training programs can sometimes lead to reinforcement in harmful discrimination as the training facilitator make your workforce feel that these prejudices are involuntary. 

Therefore, the trainees suppose they need not put in action to eliminate them. In addition, some employees may even believe that to have prejudices means to be human. It implies that they no longer notice anything wrong with possessing them. 

Tips for creating a productive implicit bias training 

In the past few years, organizations have come a long way in eliminating implicit bias in the workplace. From pioneering more diverse hiring approaches to supporting employee education, organizational culture is heading towards a more just and equitable future. Below are some of the top tips to implement efficient implicit bias training. 

  • Moving beyond awareness

As said earlier, in conventional implicit prejudice training programs, the focus was only on awareness. For this purpose, the program must expand beyond just a discussion striving to build awareness.

One intriguing method that has proven outcomes is creating sharing groups. These batches will have people coming from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. 

The discussions in this group will need each participant to intercommunicate individual experiences, ideas, and differences regarding implicit bias. Thus, an organization can obtain a more exhaustive rundown of possible approaches they can implement to impede it. 

  • Fight implicit bias in processes and strategies

Transforming the way your organization functions is a sure-shot way to ensure implicit biases do not impact your team or any person associated with the company, such as job applicants or clients.

It concerns examining all the diverse phases of your approaches and strategies. 

In accomplishing so, you can work out how prejudice might penetrate activities, such as making your day-to-day judgments and how they will likely impact other people. From there, you can encompass your company's strategy to guarantee it's free from discrimination. That might imply blind hiring strategies, gender-neutral employment ads, preparing your team, and making your organization more representative.

  • Use positive examples

A company looking to introduce an implicit bias training program should look for a specific kind of training facilitator. Therefore, the matter in your bias training program should never remain restricted to only what people should not do.

Instead, you should concentrate on what measures to take in eradicating prejudice. In other terms, you need to select the training program that presents a clear view of Dos rather than Don'ts. 

  • Increasing interaction

Another characteristic to look for in an implicit bias training program concerns communication. A company must look to participate in a training program merely because they need to meet a specific quota or mandate put forward by the state. 

Thus, to enhance the engagement with the trainee and set a better example, the bias training program should hold better communication overall. It can include dialogue in smaller groups and other exercises. 

  • Incorporate better vocabulary 

Another tip to improve your implicit bias training is to incorporate equitable vocabulary. By incorporating neutral vocabulary in your unconscious bias prevention training, you can better improve hiring processes to overcome the prejudice they have towards a colleague or a group of employees on a microscopic level.

  • Slow down your decision-making process

You are most sensitive to making prejudiced judgments when communicating with other people. Furthermore, in any discussion with your coworkers, you are at risk of making inferences, jumping to conclusions, or listening to your intuitions.

One of the intriguing things about implicit prejudice at work is that if you're communicating with other individuals and you're also under pressure, then the odds of being governed by your biases increases.

The bottom line 

When speaking of implicit bias training, you need to implement a training program that suits the best to your workplace. Therefore, the most suitable component of your unconscious bias training is to create an organizational atmosphere where your workforce feels secure and engaged. Your company can become a better place to work with the right implicit bias training strategy.

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