Make a Conscious Change to Battle Unconscious Biases

May 30, 2018 Jen Farthing

Over the past few weeks, the aftermath of the “Incident at Starbucks” has had a catalyzing effect on the organization, which prompted it to publicly recommit to its core values, its social responsibility, and its companywide training program. Rather than rehash what went wrong, let’s take a look at what went right and how we might learn from this teachable moment.

Following a moment of intense reflection, Starbucks not only shuttered 8,000 stores for a few hours to devote time to team-based training, but spent weeks redrafting critical policies and examining its behaviors to better understand and frame its needed effort on diversity and inclusion training. No small feat.

Workplace education programs that address unconscious bias—the stereotypes that exist in our subconscious that affect our behavior—are crucial for creating positive organizational change. The skeptics among us like to point out that we cannot help our biases due to the very nature of their implicitness, let alone actually change them. But surely there are steps we can take.

LRN’s HUR735, A Look at Unconscious Bias at Work, is a 20-minute awareness course that helps learners proactively identify, understand, and manage biases so they can make smarter business decisions and more fully realize their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

After taking this short module, learners are able to recognize unconscious bias in themselves and in others, then apply strategies for addressing unconscious bias in the workplace. As a first step, simply focusing on this kind of training is an important statement about what matters.

An added benefit to promoting unconscious bias education is that it opens up the conversation so companies can demonstrate a deliberate bias for action—toward building values-based cultures where difficult conversations about preconceived notions, tendencies, and stereotypes can be had in an inclusive and transparent way.

Contact us to learn more about LRN’s suite of educational resources to help eradicate bias and take on other workplace challenges such as harassment, discrimination, and bullying.

About the Author

Jen Farthing

Global Head of Operations for Education and Learning Product at LRN

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