Over 90% of the decisions we make every day are unconscious. Which means those decisions will be driven by our biases: our tendencies and life experience that have shaped who we are and what we do.
In the most part this is highly beneficial, saves us time and we develop patterns of doing things that work. Then sometimes we discover that these biases are resulting in unhelpful decisions.
This is of particular concern when it comes to hiring, because we are less likely to judge someone on their ability to do the job and more likely to have our biases at play, such as whether we think the person is like us, or whether they made a good first impression – unconsciously these things will make a huge difference to how we make a decision.
Once you understand how unconscious bias works and the problems with it, how do you change your behaviour and recruit more effectively?
We have been running workshops on objective recruitment practice, including content on unconscious bias for many years, advising companies on how to interview more effectively and be more aware of where bias comes in and affects decision-making.
So what do we cover in a typical workshop?
• What is unconscious bias? An introduction to how our brains work, fast and slow systems.
• Games that highlight the fast brain and our biases, so we all see that we are all biased.
• Exploring why we have these biases, that this does not make us bad people, but it does highlight that we cannot say that only extremists are sexist, racist etc, we all have these biases to varying degrees.
• Why is bias an issue? How do our biases play out in CV screening and interviews? How could this stop us from hiring the best person for the job?
• What can we do? The power of introducing friction or any process that causes us to slow down. This moves us out of fast thinking, delays our judgement and encourages greater objectivity.
• Interview skills sessions to put this into practice.
Unconscious Bias training does not work?
You may well have read concerns about this training being ineffective and research showing that teaching bias can actually do more harm than good. That is all true.
A standalone unconscious bias workshop will provide little benefit. Building awareness alone is not enough.
That is why all of our programmes are broader than unconscious bias alone, and why we train hiring managers in how to interview more effectively: giving them the tools to address the issues caused by our natural biases.