ICML training courses > HR and wellbeing > Unconscious bias training

Unconscious Bias Training

Whether we like it or not, we tend to form opinions about people without being aware of it. Without even realising it’s happening, we may be harbouring biases relating to gender, age, race, physical appearance and other factors.

With that in mind, when you want to create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, you need to understand and examine those biases first — and help others do the same. Once everyone starts from a place of understanding that such bias exists, it becomes easier to put strategies in place that reduce its impact.

Ask us how we can tailor our Unlocking Unconscious Bias training course in-house to any size group: from one-on-one coaching to conferences with hundreds of people. We are able to design a program that matches your audience, objectives, budget and available time. We offer our courses in the following locations:

Melbourne | Sydney | Brisbane | Adelaide | Perth | Hobart | Darwin | Canberra
All regional areas | Asia | And anywhere else

Course audience

This program is designed for teams and organisations seeking to reduce unconscious bias and eliminate its impact.

Course outcomes

In this unconscious bias training course, you will learn how to:

  • Understand the types of biases and their effect on behaviour and decision making
  • Become aware of your own biases
  • Make more conscious decisions and thereby reduce the impact of implicit biases
  • Engage in slow thinking to improve decisions
  • Put in place other strategies to avoid unconscious bias
  • Enhance diversity in your workplace by reducing unconscious bias.

What is unconscious bias training?

One thing to understand about unconscious bias is that it may not be a negative thing in and of itself.

For instance, if you find out a new co-worker attended the same university as you, there might be an immediate bond or understanding between you, even if you’re not thinking, “I like this new co-worker for this reason.” But that can be a negative for another new co-worker who does not share that connection if, for instance, you listen to or agree with the first person’s ideas more so than the second’s.

Moreover, it’s important to keep in mind that unconscious bias training is not necessarily designed to eliminate those preconceived notions, but rather to minimise their impact on your workplace. This is done by making people aware that such biases exist, so that they can be accounted for within your organisation.

What does unconscious bias training look like?

There are many ways to tackle the problems that arise from unconscious bias, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with them. Put differently, every organisation is different and therefore needs to come at the issue in their own way.

At ICML, we deliver a tailored training program through either face-to-face workshops at your offices or via impactful live online workshops.

All of this will work toward the course outcomes listed above.

How do you talk about unconscious bias?

When people are told they have biases, they may well react negatively and this is understandable. “Bias” is a word with rather specific connotations, many of them are negative. But it is often the more conscious biases that are overtly negative, while implicit or unconscious bias can have a similar but more muted, or less obvious, effect.

Consequently, it’s important to frame things as a frank statement of reality: Everyone has biases, both positive and negative. As such, working to smooth those out so that they do not impact your organisation is the ultimate goal of introducing these discussions and going through the necessary training.

Why is unconscious bias training important?

Suppose your organisation has a problem that it just can’t crack. When implicit bias has informed your hiring practices for years, it may be that a lack of diversity in your employee pool has created a blind spot.

On the other hand, when you identify these biases and work to eliminate them, you are far more likely to have a diverse group of employees who can potentially approach problems in their own unique ways. This greatly reduces the risk of a homogenous groupthink that holds your organisation back.

Beyond that, you must also consider the potential emotional effect of implicit bias on employees who are, perhaps, not fully looped into decision-making processes and otherwise may be marginalised. Not only could that have a negative impact on their mental health, but also their work performance — and your company’s long-term reputation.

How to measure the effectiveness of unconscious bias training

Developing awareness of implicit stereotypical thinking or preconceptions is one thing. Addressing them is another. Measuring how well you are dealing with these issues is perhaps most important of all.

Certainly, if you are investing the time and resources to go through these training courses, you want a return on that investment in terms of greater equity and inclusion. Apart from measuring the effectiveness of these efforts through the Kirkpatrick learning evaluation approach, you may also want to consider using an Implicit Association Test (IAT) to make sure people are increasingly aware of their implicit biases and working to improve their attitudes.

How has unconscious bias training helped with behavioural change?

Again, every organisation is different, and there’s no way to be absolutely sure that any particular approach to implicit bias training will be highly effective. For that reason, this may need to be an ongoing process that slowly reshapes the ways in which your organisation operates. Talk to us about the systemic and cultural changes you can put in place in your organisation to reduce unconscious biases. 

Does unconscious bias training really work?

The short answer to this question is, “Yes,” but there are some things you will certainly need to consider along the way. If you are not taking a holistic approach to the problem within your organisation, or if you are not tailoring them to the unique issues it may be facing, you might not get everything out of the effort that you want.

The systemic nature of unconscious bias means correcting it is not a quick fix. ICML helps companies and organisations address systemic issues and create more inclusive working environments through our courses and consultancy services.

Tailoring our Unconscious Bias course to your needs

No matter what kind of training you feel your organisation needs to reduce and eventually eliminate unconscious bias in the workplace, 

At ICML, we boost your return on investment in unconscious bias training because we tailor the workshop experience in a number of ways, including:

  • Content: We’ll discuss which topics are relevant to your organisation and design a program that suits your unique needs. That includes customising for any existing unconscious bias framework, methodology and templates.
  • Language: We’ll adopt your internal business and unconscious bias terminology so everything is more digestible.
  • Duration: We’ll deliver anything from a one-hour presentation to a multi-day unconscious bias training over the course of months, and everything in between.
  • Location: We’ll deliver our programs across Australia and overseas.

For example, we recently helped a federal government department with a tailored program to reduce biases when evaluating tender submissions.

Once we know what you need, we will be able to tailor your training course more effectively, and can present you with a proposal for moving forward either in person or via email. When the groundwork of the course is laid out, we can begin to talk about scheduling.

One-on-one coaching – Unlocking Unconscious Bias

We regularly conduct one-on-one training and coaching sessions with employees or managers to boost their skills and overcome specific challenges they may have.

We will gather all pertinent information from one or several representatives in the organisation and create a coaching plan. In many cases, we find that just a few sessions are sufficient to turn around tough situations.

Get in touch today

Our various training programs will equip you or your entire company with the unique skills to succeed. We offer both in-person training and online courses. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you:

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Free eCoaching: ask an ICML trainer – get advice on unconscious bias

Do you have any questions about unconscious bias or implicit bias in the workplace you’d like to ask? Do it here. One of our trainers will answer on the page and we’ll let you know by email when we post the response. We aim to come back to you within a few business days. If you need more urgent advice, try our chat at the bottom of the page.