In this article for Changeboard here entitled ‘Does Unconscious Bias Training work?’ I argue that there IS a time and a place for unconscious bias training (UBT) in addressing equality in the workplace.
This comprehensive article addresses why UBT is not a silver bullet but rather an effective tool in embedding inclusion in the workplace as part of a wider strategic behavioural change programme. In the article, I say that “tackling bias is about unlearning often centuries old attitudes, societal norms and behaviour. That’s why UBT can be so uncomfortable and why unconscious bias is so hard to unpick.”
I go on to emphasise that bias can never be entirely tackled by UBT, but it can be a good starting point if approached as a beginning of a more complex journey to build an ethical and inclusive culture. I argue that UBT can raise awareness about difficult issues and open up debates organisations need to have, offering a safe environment to ask difficult questions and confront biases on a collective basis, at all levels of the business and across all protected characteristics.
“The key thing is for organisations to be clear about the format and purpose of the training, how it fits in with broader company strategy on inclusion as a business imperative – and that it’s not used in isolation.”