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Does Unconscious Bias Training Actually Work?

Why would we question whether unconscious bias training actually works relative to any other training? The problem is most of us fail to acknowledge the ongoing motivational elements that are essential for effective learning adoption. No training magically works without a participant’s genuine desire to master what is being taught.

Some learning is no doubt more challenging than other training, but inherently the concepts to be appreciated in unconscious bias training are not difficult. The training is underpinned by well-researched and validated science in the areas of human psychology, neuroscience, and sociology. The evidence and examples are irrefutable. So, acceptance of the simple fact that we have a host of automatic preferences called bias is not the problem. Most rational participants will recognise and acknowledge this readily.

The real issue at stake is participants seeing and understanding the negative consequences of unconscious bias. They also need to care about the fact that potential unfairness and harm to others are ever-present consequences of it. This means that to be successful, there is a strong ethical component for participants to appreciate as part of unconscious bias awareness training.

Facing facts

If the reason why we need to “check” ourselves constantly for unconscious bias is not grounded in the right values, the change imperative will be lost. For this reason, unconscious bias training cannot take place in a moral or ethical vacuum. We must examine the criticality of the training in the context of what is right and wrong in the world. Participants must also be oriented on why it is important to care about justice and the well-being of everyone within the workplace.

Organisations, therefore, cannot expect unconscious bias training to actually work if they are not clear on their standpoint on diversity and inclusion and the compelling reasons that exist to make these non-negotiable components of workplace structure, functioning, and performance. Whilst people can be encouraged to do the right thing for the right reasons, unfortunately for the unwilling, there also need to be consequences for people that do not subscribe to the principle, values, and purpose of the organisation.

Like any other training that an organisation invests in that is essential to its success, adoption should not be elective. For other training, we expect people to put in the effort, apply themselves diligently, and over time, improve and achieve targeted outcomes. There should be a similar expectation with diversity training unconscious bias. Change is not discretionary and organisational policies, practices, guidelines, support processes, and tools will enable the transition. The bottom line is that people need to be held accountable for all post-training outcomes and behaviour.

If organisations themselves are lenient on people who do not take the need to change seriously or make excuses for why unconscious bias training may not work, this will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A helping hand

This is not to say we should not be realistic about people’s vulnerabilities and the extent to which focus on unconscious bias must be maintained post-training together with ample creative organisational support. This includes having the right communication and feedback strategies in place associated with diversity and inclusion as well as regular review of progress to determine new plans to secure progress where warranted.

Unconscious bias training will have more chances of working if organisations actively build a culture and climate that facilitates diversity and inclusion advancement. Modelling the right mindset and behaviour by top leadership and champions throughout the organisation will be vital. Recognising that the more people mobilise to passionately embrace diversity and inclusion, the more plans and goals will be impactful.

The flip side of unconscious bias is a conscious choice after one has paused the automatic response reaction for mature reflection. It is essential that after unconscious bias awareness training, each individual internalises this personal responsibility. The obvious choice must be to consciously adopt the learnings received during training.

Uneeb Khan
Uneeb Khan
Uneeb Khan CEO at blogili.com. Have 4 years of experience in the websites field. Uneeb Khan is the premier and most trustworthy informer for technology, telecom, business, auto news, games review in World.

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