What is unconscious bias training?

Published by Elaine Gallagher on

What is unconscious bias trainging?

Table of contents

Unconscious biases are opinions and stereotypes about social groups that are formed without awareness and that impact those around us. Minority groups are most likely to be impacted by our unconscious biases. Unconscious bias training is designed to address these behaviours. 

Most frequently, biases are held relating to gender, sexuality, age, race and appearance. However, in the workplace, this is far from a comprehensive list. 

Unconscious bias is difficult to identify and resolve, as most people can’t recognise that they are acting based on bias.

In the workplace, it can impact recruitment and employee development, without intention. For example, hiring decisions are often made based on gut feel. It’s difficult to know whether bias is leading those decisions. Limiting unconscious bias is key to diverse recruitment, developing a workforce, and driving them forward. 

Unconscious bias training

Unconscious bias training should demonstrate how bias can affect us unknowingly. The very nature of unconscious bias is that even the most diversity aware employees can let their bias guide them.

The training can help employees learn how to identify biases in the workplace. It demonstrates where unconscious bias can take place. It should also provide advice on steps to prevent biases from controlling decisions. 



Training your employees on unconscious bias has benefits for both the business and the employees. Overall, employee happiness and success means business success. Taking the time to implement a positive training programme provides a better workplace for your staff.

The business can benefit from better staff retention rates. Staff feel safe in their working environment, as workplace issues are rectified. This is especially true for those affected most by unconscious bias. They should feel that their issues are recognised by the workforce as a whole. 

Good staff retention rates are important for any business. The workplace can become a negative space when there is constant staff turnover. A familiar workplace and colleagues increases engagement and productivity within your teams. 

Better training also makes way for more diverse teams. Different people have different experiences, and this shapes their decisions and opinions. More varied thought processes and ideas drive innovation. Your business will benefit from more creativity in the workforce, which drives engagement. As a result, diverse businesses are more profitable. 

For employees, they benefit from a more inclusive environment. They feel valued as a staff member, and understand that their problems are heard. This breeds a much happier workplace, and happier staff. Employees don’t have to be loyal to a business, but they are more likely to stay when they are comfortable.

Best practices

It can be difficult to know how to tackle the hurdle of unconscious bias. The difficulty is that it is hard to recognise, and it is challenging to change employee behaviour. Whilst there are no specific guidelines for unconscious bias training, there are some best practices. 

  • Group Training

Try to schedule training sessions in groups. This is important as it prevents any one person from being singled out. It can be difficult to feel comfortable talking about this issue individually. Group sessions encourage safe and productive discussion among colleagues, and develops trust.

  • Practical Training

Unconscious bias can be a difficult topic to tackle. Providing practical training encourages staff to participate and engage. It can provide a positive experience around an otherwise negative issue. As a result, practical unconscious bias training is more likely to make an impact on staff. Bulk reading and tests don’t engage anyone, so involve employees in a practical training programme. 

  • Provide Solutions

Training should be reflective. Encourage employees to provide feedback on the training, or on their personal experiences in the workplace. This can identify problem areas, and uncover solutions. Employees need to see real change and action from their company, rather than a box being ticked. Develop discussions around solutions that they would like to see, and implement accordingly.

At BAD, we develop digital experiences to suit your training needs. They are an interactive way to promote change in employee behaviour, with practical methods. Get in touch today to discuss training in your organisation. 

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