Embedding Unconscious Bias Training and Diversity Planning into Talent Reviews


At Air Products, we’ve set a goal to be the most diverse and inclusive industrial gas company in the world.  As we work toward this goal, we believe it is essential to fully integrate diversity & inclusion into our talent management processes, and to disrupt unconscious bias in the selection and advancement of talent by directly embedding training into those processes.


In 2016, Air Products introduced a new Talent Management framework under the banner of ‘Everyone. Everyday.’  Foundational to the framework is our belief that we need every one performing at his or her best every day to drive our success.  The framework consists of three elements, including a new Talent Review & Succession Planning process.

Our Talent Reviews now integrate two previously separate and disconnected processes related to Talent Identification & Succession Planning and Diversity Action Planning to ensure more focused actions on building a diverse leadership pipeline. 

Importantly, all Talent Reviews begin with a discussion of unconscious bias and the impact unconscious bias can have on the assessment of individual potential.  This “just-in-time” training is targeted directly to managers and leadership teams as they are identifying high potential employees and succession candidates. 

Additionally, during Talent Reviews, leadership teams are tasked with completing a Diversity Action Plan.  They are asked to consider the following questions:

  • As a leadership team, do we visibly demonstrate our support for Diversity & Inclusion through our words and actions?
  • Do we know our diverse talent, and routinely discuss and invest in their engagement and development?
  • Are we satisfied with the diversity mix of our new hires?
  • Are we satisfied with the diversity mix of talent assigned to high profile, critical projects and leadership teams?
  • Does our high potential list reflect the diversity of talent available to us? If no, what is our plan to change this?
  • Do the vast majority of our succession plans include a diverse slate? If no, what is our plan to change this?

Unconscious bias training delivered to managers and intact teams as they begin Talent Reviews is creating shared accountability for disrupting bias.  Additionally, we are now able to measure not only the diversity of our talent pipeline, but also the number of succession roles with diverse candidate slates and related development plans.


Darlene MacKinnon 

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