Understanding and Overcoming Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

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Have you ever had someone mention or suggest unconscious bias training for your staff? Your first reaction was probably visceral; your staff members are good people who aren’t racist, sexist, etc.. The truth is, their attitudes and behavior aren’t necessarily the problem. Unconscious bias is something that affects all of us – and thankfully, something that can be overcome.

Understanding Unconscious Bias

Forbes does an excellent job explaining the way implicit or unconscious bias impacts the professional environment. When you think about people in executive positions, you most likely think about a white man. When you think about a person providing cleaning services, you may think of a Hispanic woman or another woman of color. When you think of teaching, childcare, or clerical work, you probably think of a white woman.

These are all unconscious biases. We don’t mean anything harmful by them and probably aren’t even aware of those long-held stereotypical ideas until someone asks us to consider them. But they can create major issues for people in the workplace.

When a woman wants to pursue an executive position, or a man wants to work in a clerical position, they are often met with resistance that others may not even realize they are creating. This is just the beginning of how unconscious bias negatively impacts those in the workforce. The logical end of this behavior can be sexist, racist, homophobic, and other bigoted behavior that can even result in violence.

Overcoming Unconscious Bias in Professional Settings

So, what can be done to address these biases? If people don’t realize they’re harboring these ideas, how can they be corrected? Thankfully, many companies now partner with providers of training designed to help people correct these biases and make the workplace a safe and more comfortable place for everyone to be.

For more information on getting unconscious bias training for your staff, talk to your local provider of bias training services. With an increasingly-diversified workforce, these providers are more accessible than ever. Their services are part of the ongoing solution in overcoming unconscious bias and creating a better environment for people from every walk of life.