Unconscious Bias 90-minute Outline

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Establish a foundational understanding of how bias affects decision-making. 
  • Explore the impact of three kinds of bias that impact selection and other decision-making processes: implicit or unconscious bias, cultural bias and systems bias.
  • Provide an understanding of how biases are formed in our unconscious (and on request, specifically addresses four kinds of unconscious bias that affect recruitment). 

Training Outline

Context (If Stand-Alone):

  • Contextualize the training within a framework of either an inclusive work environment or inclusive leadership. This includes an interactive component, and also reveals recent research by Deloitte revealing when employees actually feel included, and what traits are required to foster an inclusive workplace. This section will also introduce the key concept of one’s Intent versus Impact.

How our Brains Work:

  • Demonstrate how our brains are trained to see things in a way that might not be true. Using leading research, give participants a sense of how the conscious and unconscious work, and provide various frameworks by leading experts (Daniel Kahneman, Jonathan Haidt).  

  • Examine the correlation of implicit bias and of “blind spots” (Banaji and Greenwald, 2013).

Examine the Participant results from the Harvard Implicit Association Tests

  • Presuming participants have taken at least two IATs, explain how the experiment works, and what the general findings are. Facilitated discussion of what participants found surprising and how awareness affected them. 

When Are We Most Vulnerable to Unconscious Bias

  • Specific factors make people more susceptible to unconscious bias. Understanding these factors provide simple strategies for disrupting bias. This includes an examination of over-confidence in making decisions.

  • Provide an understanding of the four key problems associated with bias (Calvin Lai, 2017).

Types of Unconscious Biases

  • Establish some literacy, provide examples and examine the impact of of the most common forms of everyday bias in the workplace, using the work of Howard Ross and three specific gender biases.

    These include:

    • Affinity Bias
    • Confirmation Bias
    • Social Comparison Bias
    • Attribution Error

Gender Biases:

  • Maternal Bias
  • Competency/Likability trade-off Bias
  • Performance Attribution Bias

Strategies for Disrupting Bias

Participants are provided a range of research and strategies by leading experts:

  • How to Fight Racial Bias When It’s Silent and Subtle (NPR, 2013)
  • Deep Diversity (Shakil Choudhury, 2015)
  • Calvin Lai, 2017
  • Eight strategies for disrupting bias in recruitment.

For Leadership and Administrators: How to Move Past Awareness

Examines how to use systemic change to solve unconscious and cultural bias.