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Unstoppable Performance Leaders are leading specialists in bespoke unconscious bias training. We offer businesses a range of innovative in-person training courses, cutting-edge online e-learning modules and powerful actor-based workshops aimed at addressing unconscious bias in the workplace.
What is unconscious bias
Everyone has biases – prejudices for or against things that express themselves in our behaviors. Biases we are aware of are known as conscious biases. Those we are not are known as unconscious biases, also known as implicit stereotypes.
An unconscious bias is an association or assumption held by an individual which affects their attitudes and behaviors. Unconscious biases are formed through positive and negative life experiences involving other people and their behaviors, and our actions, particularly how we view and evaluate others, are directly informed by these memories, feelings, urges and so forth. This can lead to unconsciously biased and non-objective decision-making.
These biases are often displayed subtly and without premeditation or intention: through body language, mannerisms and conversation. That can make them difficult to overcome.
In business, unconscious bias hampers fairness, equality and diversity, harming performance in kind. McKinsey’s 2018 Delivering through Diversity report found that companies in the bottom quartile for gender, ethnic and cultural diversity were 29% less likely to achieve above-average profitability than other companies.
Examples of unconscious bias
There are over 150 examples of unconscious bias that manifest themselves in a wide range of ways. Here are some of the most common:
Affinity Bias – Unconsciously preferring people who share the same qualities with you, or that you like.Conformity Bias – Being unconsciously swayed by the opinions of people around you, such as your superiors.Confirmation Bias – Searching primarily for evidence that backs up your opinions, at the expense of opposing viewpoints that might afford a more rounded view.Gender Bias – Preferring one gender over another, gender bias stems from deeply rooted beliefs about gender roles and stereotypes. See our workplace guide on unconscious gender bias to learn more about its impact.Halo Effect – Thinking highly positively on single feature of someone, but then allowing this positive view to inform other, potentially unrelated, features.Height Discrimination – When managers instinctively reward taller members of staff at the expense of shorter, just as able, staff members.
Learn about the different types of unconscious bias.
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Why is it important for businesses to address unconscious bias?
Workplaces are particularly susceptible to unconscious bias and the effects can be serious:
– Feelings of exclusion among staff, resulting in reductions in productivity and engagement.
– A failure to maximize team performance and experience the business benefits of diversity.
– Workplace bullying, unlawful harassment or discrimination based on individuals’ race, age, gender, class – or any other identifier.
– Costly meditation work and/or employment tribunals.
Mindfulness and unconscious bias in workplaces
With workplaces increasingly promoting staff wellbeing, mindfulness meditation methods have exploded in popularity, offering staff a simple and effective way of grounding their thoughts in order to reduce mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Yet, mindfulness techniques have so much more to offer companies.
Several high-profile studies have revealed that mindfulness can effectively reduce individuals’ tendency towards acting on their unconscious biases. By encouraging staff to try mindfulness meditation, businesses can work towards avoiding situations where staff members or customers might be discriminated against, insulted, or otherwise harmed by prejudices.
High status is no protection against unconscious bias
While it is a form of discrimination, unconscious bias is a natural human trait that sees through distinctions of status. It can harm the opportunities of wealthy and well-connected individuals just as much as it can less privileged groups’, and this can translate into reduced equality and diversity in workplace areas such as upper management. In our guide, learn more about how high-status individuals can be impacted by unconscious bias and what can be done to combat the issue.
Fight against unconscious bias with Unstoppable Performance Leaders
Our online, on-demand introduction to unconscious bias is the perfect introduction to the theory, providing practical tools to help promote inclusive behavior. Our approach makes delegates aware that unconscious bias exists within all of us and demonstrates pragmatic steps that can be taken to address bias.
UPL’s unconscious bias training is designed to be enlightening, interactive and cross-cultural – not limited to single strands of diversity or protected characteristics – and addresses all areas of business, especially vulnerable functions such as:
Culturally intelligent leaders are 3.5 times more likely to get the full potential out of their staff
Diverse businesses are 35% more likely to financially outperform their industry’s national average