In 2019, of our prospective clients which is in the business of providing high end IT software products and services reached out to Catalyst with a unique training program requirement. They had got a global mandate to raise employee awareness and sensitivity towards workplace biases, become aware about the existing biases and consciously adopt practices to reduce them.
Though we had not done a workshop on this topic before, we picked up the challenge of designing and developing an impactful session. The process started with meeting the HR and other key stakeholders from the organization to understand their setup, the employee profile, kind of biases which were currently existing in their organization both in India and globally.
This was followed up with extensive research by our team on understanding in depth about unconscious biases and practices for dealing with them by renowned organisations across the world.
We then developed a half day session with the key objective of enabling the participants to identify and become self aware of their own subconscious biases and to overcome the differences and perceptions existing at the workplace through real word connect.
The session was delivered in 3-4 key stages as described below:
- Introduction to Biases – We started with a small and impactful pre-work where participants were supposed to take the IAT’s ( Implicit Association Tests) developed by Harvard on a variety of unconscious biases which exist to recognize own personal biases. This was followed by photo card and Tag game to seed the thought that biases are inevitable and all around us as it is sub conscious and we develop them inherently through our life exposure and experiences. Hence we cannot rid ourselves of biases completely and we shouldn’t try either. Instead we must focus on identifying biases which lead to detrimental or harmful actions and lead us to actively eliminate or discriminate against certain people or ideas etc; which impact organization growth and culture adversely.
- Exploration Card Game – Catalyst designed a fun and engaging fluency card game to make participants understand about the different types of biases and how to identify them at the workplace.
- Gallery Of Maps – In groups or teams , the participants created their own Personal Bias Maps depicting each of the biases in the most creative and imaginative way possible. These were displayed on the wall and a gallery walk and presentation was conducted which gave valuable insights and helped in deeper understanding of the biases at play and how they manifest themselves in various forms at the workplace.
- Ladder Of Inference – Of all the tools , we found the concept of “ Ladder of Inference” to be most effective which enables managers and employees to have productive discussions for identifying their individual biases and take steps to break their biases as well.
Being a half day focused and bite sized module, this module enabled the client organization to easily release all employees for attending the workshop ensuring maximum coverage and the simple and engaging program design and delivery of the module helped participants understand a somewhat vague topic in an easy manner.
The Unconscious Biases workshop was rolled out to 230 employees approximately across 3 client locations in Noida, Bangalore and Pune respectively. The client also measured the workshop impact on several parameters of trainer and training effectiveness.
The training evaluation was done on parameters like relevance of the workshop and content delivered, clarity of learning objectives, practical application and connect to real work life and overall participant impression of the workshop. We scored a whopping 4.4/5 on this overall.
The trainer effectiveness score was a phenomenal 4.5 across feedback collated for all employees who participated in the workshops.
The program garnered rave reviews and went on to become one of Catalyst’s flagship programs which further got delivered in multiple organizations across various industry segments.
Some of the best feedback verbatims we received for the program included –
“ The hours passed in a flash…we didn’t realize we were in a training.”
“ A very interesting training format which was both interactive and engaging and helped understand a new topic very well”.