Bias exists in our everyday lives, professionally and personally. In order to understand our biases, we have to know our own internal biases and most importantly, admit we have them.
Organizations need to develop an action plan regarding unconscious bias training. This can include having a third party explain what exactly unconscious bias is and what it entails. At AllThingzAP, we find that having employees take the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to be extremely effective in detecting these biases. The IAT test is a measure within social psychology designed to detect the strength of a person's subconscious association between mental representations of objects and concepts in one’s memory. Tests include topics such as race, sexuality, gender-career, weight, etc. Each employee takes the IAT test and we debrief about the results. Throughout this exercise, I indicate that this is a judgement free zone. In order for this to work, we all have to be honest with ourselves and each other while having a discussion surrounding the results.
Employees learn about unconscious bias and specifically their own biases. By knowing your microaggressions and your biases, you can work on them. Specifically, this helps the entire organization in recruiting, onboarding, and performance management.
Inclusion is essential for diversity programs and initiatives to succeed. Diversity is extremely important, but diversity cannot sustain itself without inclusion.