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Implicit Bias Resource Guide

We all have implicit biases which affect the way we live and work in the world. Identifying how these biases may negatively affect workers and the bottom line is pivotal in the development of workplace equality. SHRM has gathered the following list of resources to highlight work being done in this area. 

Implicit Bias (Video) – McCombs School of Business

Implicit bias often runs counter to people's conscious, expressed beliefs.  Few physicians espouse racially discriminatory views, yet doctors tend to recommend less pain medication for black patients than for white patients with the identical injury.  In other words, people can be explicitly unbiased, yet implicitly biased, according to psychologist Daniel Kelly and colleagues.




How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams (HBR, Dec. 2019)

Although bias itself is devilishly hard to eliminate, it is not as difficult to interrupt. In the decades we've spent researching and advising people on how to build and manage diverse work groups, we've identified ways that managers can counter bias without spending a lot of time—or political capital.

Your Unconscious Bias Trainings Keep Failing Because You're Not Addressing Systemic Bias (Forbes, Dec. 2019)

While it is equally as important for individuals to be aware of their own blind spots and stereotypes and how these impact behaviors and decision-making, unconscious bias training and diversity and inclusion workshops should also address these systemic and structural issues (SSIs) that are insidious and allow bias to manifest at a greater level. What are some of these SSIs and how can organizations deconstruct these oppressive systems to make for a more inclusive and equitable workplace?

When Employees Think the Boss Is Unfair, They're More Likely to Disengage and Leave

It's impossible to know when managers act on unconscious biases. But it is possible to ascertain when an individual perceives bias against them. In gathering research for our report Disrupt Bias, Drive Value, we decided to take a different approach to studying bias. Rather than looking at managers' actions, we focused our attention on the employees — particularly, their experiences.

Don't Talk about Implicit Bias Without Talking about Structural Racism

Most work on implicit bias focuses on increasing awareness of individuals in service of changing how they view and treat others. This is important, but insufficient to advancing greater equity of opportunity, experience, and outcomes in our institutions and communities. Rather, in order to lead to meaningful change, any exploration of implicit bias must be situated as part of a much larger conversation about how current inequities in our institutions came to be, how they are held in place, and what our role as leaders is in perpetuating inequities despite our good intentions.

Why Diversity Programs Fail

A number of companies have gotten consistently positive results with tactics that don't focus on control. They apply three basic principles: engage managers in solving the problem, expose them to people from different groups, and encourage social accountability for change.

The World is Relying on a Flawed Psychological Test to Fight Racism

Instead of looking to implicit bias to eradicate prejudice in society, we should consider it an interesting but flawed tool. We need to acknowledge the limitations, to look for other tangible ways to reduce inequality, and to admit that our colleagues, friends, and ourselves might not just be implicitly biased, but might have explicitly racist and sexist tendencies. We should ask people to consciously recognize their prejudicial behavior, and take responsibility for it. And we certainly should stop assuming our unconscious will be the key to solving discrimination.

11 Harmful Types of Unconscious Bias and How to Interrupt Them

Unconscious biases are often based on mistaken, inaccurate, or incomplete information. These biases can have a significant impact on workplaces, shaping who gets recruited, hired, and promoted. Having an unconscious bias doesn't make you a bad person—it just means you're human.

Men of Color at Work: If These Stories Surprise You, You Haven't Been Listening

"That's diversity right there." Imagine being in a company meeting and somebody says that to you and another colleague of color. And it's not just anybody making this comment—it's an executive vice president at your company. This happened to one of our interviewees.


Let's Talk About Racial Microaggressions In the Workplace (Forbes, Jun 2020)

Racial microaggressions are constant stings and barbs. They negatively impact job satisfaction, self-esteem, and mental health issues of your black employees. They can also impact the physical health.

Dear Anti-Racist Allies: Here's How to Respond to Microaggressions (CNN, June 2020)

Microaggressions can be intentional or unintentional and sometimes even well-meaning. But they communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial messages or assumptions to the receiver. The ability to even notice these instances requires educating yourself about the experiences of black people in America and the significance behind such remarks.

When and How to Respond to Microaggressions (HBR, July 2020)

As suggested by the name, microaggressions seem small; but compounded over time, they can have a deleterious impact on an employee's experience, physical health, and psychological well-being. In fact, research suggests that subtle forms of interpersonal discrimination like microaggressions are at least as harmful as more-overt expressions of discrimination.


Subtle Acts of Exclusion - How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions

By Tiffany Janna and Michael Baran – 2020

This practical, accessible, nonjudgmental handbook is the first to help individuals and organizations recognize and prevent microaggressions so that all employees can feel a sense of belonging in their workplace.

Blindspot - Hidden Biases of Good People

By Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald – 2016

In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot.

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do
By Jennifer Lynn Eberhardt | 2019

You don't have to be racist to be biased. Unconscious bias can be at work without our realizing it, and even when we genuinely wish to treat all people equally, ingrained stereotypes can infect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behavior. This has an impact on education, employment, housing, and criminal justice.

Erasing Institutional Bias: How to Create Systemic Change for Organizational Inclusion
By Tiffany Jana & Ashley Diaz Mejies – 2018

While it is easy to identify intentionally built systems of oppression like Jim Crow or the paralysis caused by the glass ceiling for women in the workplace, confronting systems that perpetuate subtle, unconscious bias is much harder. Erasing Institutional Bias will help people tackle structural bias regardless of their positional power.

Among the types of institutional bias addressed are hiring bias, gender bias, racial bias, occupational bias, and customer bias. Jana and Mejias focus their attention on bias in the workplace and give readers practices and activities to create organizational trust to challenge these implicit biases.

The Leader's Guide to Unconscious Bias: How To Reframe Bias, Cultivate Connection, and Create High-Performing Teams (Release date: October 2020)
By Pamela Fuller and Anne Chow

Unconscious bias affects everyone. It can look like the disappointment of an HR professional when a candidate for a new position asks about maternity leave. It can look like preferring the application of an Ivy League graduate over one from a state school. It can look like assuming a man is more entitled to speak in a meeting than his female junior colleague.

Ideal for every manager who wants to understand and move past their own preconceived ideas, The Leader's Guide to Unconscious Bias explains that bias is the result of mental shortcuts, our likes and dislikes, and is a natural part of the human condition.

Research and Other Resources

Recognizing and Responding to Microaggressions (Presentation, NC State, GLBT Center)

How to Outsmart Your Own Unconscious Bias (Video) - Valerie Alexander | TEDxPasadena

Unconscious Bias: Stereotypical Hiring Practices (Video) -  Gail Tolstoi-Miller | TEDxLincolnSquare 

Bias Interrupters – Tools for Organizations (Toolkits and Worksheets, The Center for WorkLife Law).

Bias interrupters are tweaks to basic business systems that can yield large gains for your business, using a 3-step process.

The Implicit Association Test (IAT)
(Project Implicit, Harvard University)

The IAT measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about. For example, you may believe that women and men should be equally associated with science, but your automatic associations could show that you (like many others) associate men with science more than you associate women with science. Take the free online test to learn more.

A Workplace Divided – Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide
(Human Rights Campaign, 2018)

In A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ+ Workers Nationwide, HRC Foundation seeks to uncover the prevalence of LGBTQ+ workers feeling pressure to hide their sexual orientation and/or gender identity on the job and the cost of that hiding both to individuals and employers writ large. We also research the benefits to employers and workers when workplace climates are more welcoming of LGBTQ+ people.

Disrupt Bias, Drive Value
(Center for Talent Innovation, 2017)

Centered on dramatic findings which chart the incidence of perceived bias, this nationwide study identifies where bias occurs in corporate America's talent assessment processes, maps out which talent cohorts perceive bias in which areas, and measures bias's cost to the bottom line.

Day to Day Experiences of Emotional Tax Among Women and Men of Color in the Workplace
(Catalyst, 2019)

For Asian, Black, Latinx, and multiracial employees, decades of research tell us that exclusion, discrimination, and bias can be daily experiences. These experiences occur both inside and outside the workplace, and they can be sharply painful. Taken together, they impose an Emotional Tax with heavy personal consequences. This Emotional Tax can also harm businesses by preventing employees from being able to thrive at work.

Glossary of Terms
(Human Rights Campaign)

Many Americans refrain from talking about sexual orientation and gender identity or expression because it feels taboo, or because they're afraid of saying the wrong thing. This glossary was written to help give people the words and meanings to help make conversations easier and more comfortable.