National Learning at Work Week- Unconscious bias in the Workplace

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It is the second day of National Learning at Work Week and therefore the second in our series of posts where we talk about a learning video or article that has inspired us in our work here at byrne·dean.

My chosen video is the unconscious bias in the workplace presentation by Dr. Brian Welle, Director of People Analytics at Google. I choose this video because I am fascinated by unconscious bias- it is something that impacts all of us, all of the time (and mostly without us realising!). It is an essential part of how our brains operate - we need certain biases to keep us from harm and it therefore isn't always a bad thing. But in the world of work, operating with unconscious bias results in sub-optimal people decisions.

We do a lot of unconscious bias training and it is fair to say that most people get the fact that we need to think more about our biases on a regular basis to ensure that we make the best possible people decisions. On paper it sounds so easy but in reality it is much, much harder to apply which ultimately means we are more likely than not to continue making biased decisions even in the face of all the research and statistics. So how can we try to overcome unconscious bias at work in a simple way?

This brings me back to the video. There is a key point that Dr. Welle highlights - the fact that it is possible to make the unconscious, conscious. It is all about slowing our thinking down, which is essentially about awareness and learning. I love the simplicity of the idea of 'slowing your thinking down' - I find it is a more tangible technique to help surface any bias that might be affecting our decision making. It is a simple but effective learning tool and one that I have incorporated into many of my workplace training courses; promoting kinder, fairer, more productive workplaces is what we do best at byrne·dean and raising awareness of unconscious bias and how it impacts upon the decisions we make at work is a critical part of this. I'm still learning of course but I have found the idea of 'slowing your thinking down' to be a great starting point to really break the barriers of unconscious bias.

So why not develop yourself further and start your unconscious bias learning journey today - watch the video and see where it takes you!

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