What are your Unconscious Biases? Starbucks and NHS staff find out their biases

29th May 2018

The coffee chain, Starbucks, is giving all its US staff unconscious bias training, following several major race-related incidents in their stores.

Starbucks has introduced the unconscious bias training after several protests following the discriminatory treatment of black customers at some of Starbucks stores.

To see just how effective this approach will be for Starbucks, BBC News looked at how unconscious bias courses identify biases and how they then try to change behaviour. When asked what they thought their biases were, many people had no idea. That’s why Starbucks is closing some of their stores to run unconscious bias training for their staff.

This news follows an announcement by Sarah-Jane Marsh, chief executive of Birmingham Women and Children’s NHS Trust. She says she will no longer sit on any job interview panel that does not include a person from an ethnic minority.

Here is what Sarah-Jane Marsh said in an interview with Sky News:

“I know that in the NHS we have got a problem with ensuring that we have the right people in leadership positions to represent the diversity of our workforce,” she said.

“The Workforce Race Equality Scheme data tells us that white people are more likely to be appointed at interview than black people, and in my own organisation they are twice as likely to be appointed. I do not believe that is because white people are twice as good as black people, there is something else going on.

“I think there are people having unconscious bias, there are people coming to interview and not performing because they see a panel in front of them that does not believe in diversity, and I want to do something to change that.”

A study showed that BAME candidates were less likely to succeed at NHS interview. Across NHS England as a whole, 18% of the 1.2 million staff are from a BAME background, but 5% of very senior managers are non-white, compared to 27% of the lowest paid support staff.

David Marshall, Founder of Marshall E-Learning,

“With high staff turnover, larger organisations like Starbucks and the NHS need to think about would delivering Unconscious bias training each year for their staff. Incidents like these are bad for their brands and it is better to be proactive and authentic in your diversity and inclusion initiatives rather than being put in the position of responding in an exercise of damage limitation.”

Many staff in organisation like Starbucks and the NHS will have biases, whether they think they do or not. Unconscious bias training help staff recognise and deal with their biases. Marshall E-Learning’s unconscious bias training covers topics such as what is diversity, the biases we all have, and how to notice biases in ourselves.

Find out how our Unconscious Bias e-learning course, ‘Breaking Habits’, can help your employees to understand the implications of the natural biases we all hold. Contact us now at contact@marshallacm.co.uk.

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