Unconscious Bias in the Workplace: How to Recognize and Diminish its Impact in Discrimination, Hiring, Promotions, & Retention

Duration: 90 Minutes
From an individual standpoint, each of us should have an understanding of our biases so we treat others based on who they are rather than on stereotypes that we carry about various groups. From an organizational viewpoint, understanding unconscious bias is critical to strategizing ways to minimize it in the workplace to ensure a fair and discriminatory work environment. When unconscious bias is reduced, it enhances the organization climate. Unconscious bias has been recognized as a form of discrimination and can therefore lead to lawsuits.
Unconscious Bias in the Workplace
Instructor: Dr. Susan Strauss
Product ID: 501668
Objectives of the Presentation
  • To define unconscious bias
  • To examine the science of unconscious bias
  • To list examples of unconscious bias
  • To explain types of unconscious bias
  • To explore the role of stereotypes in unconscious bias
  • To discuss implicit association test (IAT)
  • To identify steps in minimizing individual unconscious bias
  • To outline steps HR and management should implement to diminish unconscious bias
Why Should you Attend
We all experience some degree of unconscious bias-yes, even those of us that are well-intentioned. Unconscious bias includes the subtle associations we make towards groups of people. Stereotypes, which often operate unconsciously, are often the root of our bias. The phenomenon has been used to partially explain the racial tension in the U. S. and particularly with the police shootings of Black men. The U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recognizes the important role unconscious bias plays in the life of attorneys and law enforcement. As a result, beginning this year, the DOJ will be rolling out training to more than 23,000 agents in the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies as well as 5,800 attorneys in 94 U. S. Attorney's Offices around the country. State and local police and sheriff departments are also conducting unconscious bias training.

More and more corporations and organizations are incorporating unconscious bias training for employees recognizing the role it plays in workplace discrimination including hiring, promotion, retention, and talent management practices. Wall Street estimated that 20% of large corporations conduct unconscious bias training. It shapes the organizational climate. One of the challenges in addressing implicit bias is, based on the research; people are often resistant to accepting behavior that is inconsistent with their stereotypes, while accepting behavior that is consistent with stereotypes.

In spite of over 50 years of civil rights law, inequality continues based on sex, race, disability, and other protected classes, as it relates to levels of education, poverty and success. Unconscious bias, influences those inequalities. Courts have recognized the existence of unconscious discrimination since the earliest Title VII decisions and have specifically stated that Title VII reaches this form of discrimination.

Who will Benefit
  • All Management including team leaders, supervisors, middle managers, directors, and senior leaders, administrators
  • Human resources professionals including generalists and HR managers
  • Risk Managers
  • Attorneys
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Law enforcement
Topic Background
Unconscious bias or implicit bias is built into our DNA-it is part of our human nature. It is automatic for humans to categorize individuals and groups to help us make sense of the world. Unconscious bias includes mental shortcuts to categorize people we are unfamiliar with into specific groups. Often those groups are labeled 'good' or 'bad'. The brain is hard-wired to create these groups and from an evolutionary standpoint, this hard-wiring helped us determine what was safe and what meant danger. Once assigned to the group, we attribute stereotypes that we associate with that group. Unconscious bias is different from conscious bias (explicit bias) that most of us associate with overt prejudice such as racism, sexism and other forms of intolerance.
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Instructor Profile:
Dr. Susan Strauss is a national and international speaker, trainer, consultant and a recognized expert investigator on workplace and school harassment and bullying. She conducts harassment and bullying investigations and functions as an expert witness in harassment and bullying lawsuits. Her clients are from business, education, healthcare, law, and government organizations from both the public and private sector.

Dr. Strauss also provides organizational, management, and employee development by conducting training, coaching, and facilitating workshops. She has been the Director of Training and Development and consults with a variety of organizations and industries, both large and small. Susan has also been the director of Wellness and has consulted with organizations to help them design, develop, implement and evaluate their Wellness programs.

Susan has a doctorate in organizational leadership. She is a registered nurse, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and counseling, a master’s degree in community health, and professional certificate in training and development. She has been involved in the harassment and bullying arena since 1985.
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