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Does Unconscious Bias Training Work?

Unconscious Bias Initatives 

Unconscious bias has been an apparent conern in the recruitment industry for some time now, and one of the many solutions to combat this issue is by giving staff unconscious bias training.

But the recent announcement that Boris Johnson’s government has decided to put a stop to the unconscious bias training delivered to their civil servants raises some questions. Does this training work?

According to the ministers, it does not. Their report cites that they have since found no evidence that it changes attitudes and behaviours or helps towards improving workplace equality.

And with unconscious bias being a key issue in the world of work, it is no surprise that the government have since faced a backlash after not putting any further plans in place to counteract the termination of the training.

Perhaps this training does work in some form, but the funds it takes to supply it does not quite warrant the results it delivers in the eyes of the government, especially during the time of a pandemic.

The government’s vague response was that “We are determined to eliminate discrimination in the workplace” but, instead of them reiterating how those funds would be replaced it appears the funds have only been ‘redirected.’

Primarily, this training is used to make us aware of the natural biases we possess as human beings and the impacts of doing so, especially in the workplace.

In aid of adjusting our thinking, these programs are designed to expose these biases and attempt to minimise the attitudes that contribute to discrimination.

Not to mention the business benefits that can be delivered, as a result, including improvements to workplace culture, diversity, employee wellbeing, productivity and more.

And although this training will not ‘solve’ this issue nor does it attempt to, completely terminating it only feels a though we are taking a step backwards as this issue is far from seeing much improvement according to Ministery of Justice (MOJ) data.

In the last five years, numbers show a 25% rise in the number of employees taking their employers to a tribunal in the UK.

A huge portion of those that increased by percentage was discrimination based. Sexual orientation discrimination was up by 165%, disability discrimination 133%, religion or belief discrimination 130%, equal pay claims 181% and sex discrimination claims up by 15%.

The only related area that is said to have improved is age discrimination by 80%.

So these figures suggest that not only does it appear our employees need more legal protection but the level of discriminative behaviour has far from improved, and these training initiatives to combat them surely are only a good thing.

Let us know your thoughts. Do you provide staff with unbiased training or related initiatives? Would you consider implementing them if not?

If you are interested in exploring our solutions to preventing this issue, get in touch.

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