Is Unconscious Bias Training Worth It?

Unconscious bias training is currently all the rage, and for good reason. Discrimination is still a problem. But that doesn’t mean that training will help you overcome your unconscious biases.

Neuropsychologist Sylvana Storey wrote a wonderful piece explaining what the problem is: 

It's an interesting essay and worth clicking through to read. She is right, a training isn't enough. The problem of power within an organization and resistance to change also has to be dealt with. Her example of how some people respond negatively to unconscious bias training was amusing because she seems to be unaware that entrenchment occurs whenever behavioral extinction is attempted. So of course, some people will respond negatively. That just means what they learned, they didn't like. It doesn't mean the training was ineffective.

The bigger issue addressed by the article is how exactly do we create change. It isn't enough to know we need to change. We have to do the actual hard work of creating change. We need to know how behaviors are unlearned and new behaviors adopted. Behavioral psychology via operant conditioning research can and should be informing our interventions to the issue of diversity and the related topics of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

If you want unconscious bias training – that is free – check out this online course. 

If you want to actually change how people do things in your organization, take the course Why is Change so Hard. It addresses the problem of change from a behavioral psychology perspective. Knowing why and how people resist change and how exactly you can basically force people to change will help you help them actually change.  And yes, this course is approved for CE through both HRCI & SHRM

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