Future of Learning Microlearning

If Unconscious Bias Training Is the First Step, What’s the Second?

Unconscious bias training is the first step, what is the second step?
Written by Matan Berkowitz

After Starbucks rolled out their unconscious bias training in response to the incident in April, the public seemed to come to a consensus: unconscious bias training is a good first step, but it can’t be the only step.

At Grovo, we believe that addressing bias is a continual pursuit that starts with learning and never ends. In fact, we’re working on an action plan to help anyone who wants to know how to follow up on their unconscious bias training and make sure they see real positive change (stay tuned for more soon). And that’s also why we’re continuing to address topics that have roots in unconscious bias in our library. We just released new Sexual Harassment Prevention training that encourages people to examine how their biases can contribute to toxic and unsafe workplace cultures.

But while training and workplace learning is being upheld as an initial solution to unconscious bias, it’s worth taking a second to think about how those of us in L&D can keep up the momentum beyond that first step. We have our employees’ attention now, so how can we build on that engagement? Where do we go from here?

Let’s take a look at a few potential areas of employee learning that we could address:

Creating an inclusive workplace

Now that everyone is examining their biases and behaviors, it’s a great time to go all out in creating an inclusive workplace.

Our new Sexual Harassment Prevention training is unlike anything else out there, in that it builds on unconscious bias training to target the root causes of harassment. Instead of creating another sexual harassment training that’s sole purpose is to document compliance, we realized the time was right to give a real learning opportunity that could help people take accountability for their workplace culture, spot problematic trends, and find the words to speak up.

There are any number of topics you could pick that would help make your workplace more inclusive, from LGBTQ Inclusion, to Mental Health in the Workplace, to training on microaggressions.

Building teams without bias

Creating a safe and inclusive culture means you need to have a diverse and inclusive team. Consider offering training on your various recruiting practices: from preventing discrimination in hiring to conducting behavior-based interviews to building smart teams. Each of those topics has a direct effect on your team, because the people you bring in and the dynamics you create on your team will dictate the results your team gets.

You can’t afford to let unconscious bias dictate the people you hire or the way your team functions. Following up your unconscious bias training with one of those topics can be a powerful way to make a real difference on your team.

Old classics (from fresh angles)

One of the goals of unconscious bias training is to help employees slow down their thinking and consider alternative angles to things they usually think about in one way. So now that your team is thinking of things differently, take the opportunity to reconsider the ways you’ve done more standard things in the past.

For example, take a topic like facilitating meetings. We’ve all been in so many meetings at this point, it can be tempting to just go with what’s worked in the past. But by slowing down and questioning assumptions about what makes meetings effective, we can find ways of making them even better. Simple things like giving people more time to prepare, going over the goal of the meeting, and alloting the right amount of time to each agenda item can go a long way.

There are plenty of other topics too, like giving presentations, productivity, or ownership that are ripe for a little inclusive disruption too. By helping your employees change the ways they approach work, you can help them improve their performance and work more inclusively.

Let’s keep the momentum going

Right now, it feels like there’s too much for learning practitioners to do in too little time. With L&D being seen increasingly as a catalyst to build more inclusive cultures, it’s our opportunity to extend our reach across our organizations.

At Grovo, we want to help everyone make safer more inclusive workplaces while we still have the momentum. If you haven’t yet, check out our free unconscious bias lessons. And if you’ve already done that, please go through 10 of our new Sexual Harassment Prevention Mircolearning lessons. Join us, and let’s continue past that first step together.