Over the past couple of years, more tech giants have recognized the dramatic lack of diversity in their workforces as a problem.
Google (largely white and male from top to bottom) is trying to set itself apart as a leader in this space.
The potential benefits extend beyond a more representative workforce. Research published in August from Morgan Stanley asserts that firms that prioritize gender diversity, and have the reports to show for it, outperform less diverse firms.
One of Google’s initiatives is its unconscious bias training. Unconscious bias refers to the stereotypes, both negative and positive, that exist in our subconscious and affect our behavior.
Back in 2013, Google implemented Unconscious Bias @ Work to bring unconscious biases to the forefront. The training lasts 60 to 90 minutes and is run by a coordinator who has undergone at least 12 hours of training.
It’s one of the largest voluntary learning programs at Google: over 35,000 employees signed up to participate in the program out of 55,000, according to Brian Welle, Google’s Director of People Analytics.
However, Welle acknowledged that creating the program didn’t mean solving the problem of unconscious bias altogether.
“You can’t rest on a training program to change people’s minds, to change your culture,” he said. “You have to get them to practice the terms, to hold everyone accountable. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Google gave us permission to share its presentation on unconscious bias. For access to the slides and the company’s unbiasing guide, you can visit Google’s re:Work site.