You have unconscious bias, here is what to do about it

I have unconscious bias too.

We all do.

It’s okay, we can do something about it.

I have been supporting Arrilla develop an online Indigenous cultural competency training course for the past couple years. Through the process, and my personal research, I have learnt a lot about cross-cultural competency, diversity, inclusion, and unconscious bias.

Our unconscious bias is the prejudice we are unaware we have. Due to our personal life experiences and the cultures we have grown up in, we make decisions based on certain ingrained thought patterns. For example, common cultural stereotypes, women are more caring and men are more aggressive.

We have these biases and we use stereotypes because, as the quote in the image above suggests, we cannot process all the information we receive consciously. We must rely on mental shortcuts.

However, stereotypes can lead to unfair judgements of people based on their gender, race, or sexuality among other things. Overtime, skewed decisions based on unconscious bias lead to major social issues, such as gender and race based discrepancies in pay and influence at work.

Learning about, and counter acting, unconscious bias can help make organisations more open, inclusive, and diverse. This can make teams more collaborative, innovative, and ultimately more profitable. The research backs this up.

I recently came across two introductory workshops developed by Facebook and Google on unconscious bias (hat tip to Courtney Seiter and August respectively). These are great data driven and research backed workshops on what unconscious bias is, why it exists, and what we can do to counter act it. It’s worth watching them both as they emphasise different things.

Before you watch them, go to the Harvard Project Implicit website and complete one of the many Implicit Association Assessments. Pick one from categories such as race, gender, or sexuality. Think you’re a pretty conscious person? You might be surprised by the result.

Let me know if you found these resources useful.

Get in touch if you want to learn more about how to make your workplace more diverse and inclusive.

Facebook’s Unconscious Bias Training

Google’s Unconscious Bias Training 

Bonus, here are a couple articles by Courtney Seiter from Buffer about what Buffer and some of the other tech companies are doing to build diverse teams.

7 Lessons From Facebook, Pinterest, And Google On Building Diverse Teams 

5 Times Our Company Failed At Diversity (And How We Fixed It) 

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