Unconscious Bias Training - Vista Employer Services
four practical ways to tackle unconscious bias

Understanding Unconscious Bias (Digital Classroom)


A 60-minute, digital, practical explanation of how our unconscious biases unwittingly impede the quality of our decision-making and why they exist. In the course of the session we will explore what the negative effects of unconscious biases can be. We will also consider a technique that can help to address their effect on the decisions we make.

Ideal for senior teams that want to explore what the presence of unconscious bias could have on the quality of decision-making in their organisations.

  • By attending the session, attendees will be able to:
  • Identify what unconscious biases are, in the context of how our actions are influenced by our unconscious brain.
  • Describe the types of unconscious bias that can give rise to poor-quality, and potentially discriminatory, decision-making
  • Show an understanding of a tool to mitigate the negative effects of unconscious biases and so improve the quality of decision making, ensuring it is based on facts.

Course Overview

Introduction and welcome (5 mins)

  • Brief history – Harvard University’s ‘project implicit’ – and what headlines it created for this topic.

What is unconscious bias? (10 mins)

  • In fact, it’s a series of biases
  • It’s not conscious bias.
  • Why unconscious biases exist– the role of each part of our ‘triune’ or three-part brain

How can our unconscious biases negatively impact the quality of decision-making (20 mins)

  • Decisions influenced by conscious and unconscious biases can lead to discrimination.
  • How they can influence our memory as well as our perception.
  • Examples of unconscious biases in action – from the benign, to not so benign.
    • Types of bias and what they do
    • Stories/research borrowed from Shankar Vendantham’s book The Hidden Brain and/or Mahzarin Banaji & Anthony Greenwald’s Blindspot

So, if it’s unconsciously happening to us – how can we address the effect of them? (10 mins)

  • Step 1: Know they are there and can lead our ‘conscious’ brain astray
  • Step 2: Recognise when that could be happening to you
  • Step 3: Use analysis tools to question your immediate reaction.
    • Introduction to/reminder of Chris Argryis’ ladder of inference as a tool.

When could it be happening at work? (10 mins)

  • Decisions in the course of the employee lifecycle/responsibilities of the Board or Ex co.

Close (5 mins)

Optional – extra 30 minutes facilitated discussion.

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