by Alex Kakavelakis
Originally published: May 29, 2017
There has been a lot of talk recently about the efficacy of bias training in the workplace. While it’s a noble goal to try and limit bias in the workplace, these training programs have been criticized with good reason. Studies have found that these training exercises are either ineffective or counterproductive, and many agree they are a waste of time. However, that doesn’t mean that the entire concept should be thrown out. Their ineffectiveness may not be indicative of a fundamental flaw, but could be uncovering inadequate levels of support or lack of reinforcement. According to a Harvard Business Review study, 96 percent of participants in diversity training courses left intending to limit their unconscious biases, suggesting that these training initiatives can motivate employees to engage in better behaviors, but lack concrete follow-through. This appears to be one of the biggest mistakes leadership makes when offering bias training: It’s never revisited. To make training effective, companies need to reinforce the information presented on a more frequent basis and codify it into company policy.