Home / Resources / Overcoming Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

Overcoming Unconscious Bias in the Workplace


Even the most well-meaning person unwittingly allows unconscious thoughts and feelings to influence seemingly objective decisions
Mahzarin R, Banaji


There is no gentle way of saying it, so put bluntly, we are all naturally biased. This is because a bias may not be intentional. One way our brains help us is by automating our thinking which is influenced by our background, our personal experiences and our cultural environment. We may be unaware that we automatically categorise people into groups like us and make unconscious judgements about others. However, by becoming aware of the existence of unconscious bias and, something we all find easier, being alert to the unconscious biases of other people, we can lessen their effect. Another term often used in this area is implicit bias which, although often used inter-changeably, has a slightly different meaning to unconscious bias as it questions the level to which a bias is unconscious if we are made increasingly aware of it.

We know from the training requests we receive, interest in and awareness of unconscious and implicit bias is growing. This is great news as their impact can not only be personal but also effect many areas of our working lives – recruitment, promotion, team-working and engagement to name but a few. By learning about bias, we can take responsibility, acknowledge our own biases and find ways to minimise their impact on both our decision making and our behaviour.

We therefore thought it might be helpful to highlight our one-day training course entitled, “Overcoming Unconscious Bias”, and provide a selection of helpful resources on the subject.

Overcoming Unconscious Bias Training

Our course, delivered face to face or virtually, demonstrates the benefits of tackling the effects of unconscious bias to avoid discriminatory acts in business and the workplace. It helps participants discover for themselves the invisible barriers that are raised by their own minds and how such natural tendencies can be counter-acted.

The course covers the impact unconscious bias can have in decision making, how to reduce it at an organisational level, lessen its impact at an individual level, and turn unconscious bias into an organisational asset. It is available UK-wide and is delivered in-house. Suitable for leaders, managers and employees, like all our other courses, it can be modified or customised to meet your organisation’s specific needs.

For more information please contact us by email or call 01383 738972

Overcoming Unconscious Bias Resources

Are you biased? – I am
An entertaining 8-minute round up by Kirsten Pressner, the Global Head of HR at a multinational firm. In her TEDx talk she includes a little of the neuroscience behind unconscious bias as well as an interesting test, ‘flip it to test it’.

How stereotypes affect us and what we can do
In this 8-minute video social psychologist, Claude Steele, describes the idea and effects of stereotype threat in our daily lives.

List of cognitive biases
A list of almost 200 known biases which are sub-divided on this Wikipedia page into decision making, belief & behavioural bias; social bias; and memory bias.

Race in America: The Invisible Hand of the Implicit Mind
A conversation between forensic psychologist, Jay Richards and Dr Anthony Greenwald, co-author of Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People.  They discuss Dr Greenwald’s 30 years of psychological research to provide a deeper understanding of our current racial gaps.

Reviewing Applicants – Research on bias and assumptions
A booklet produced by the Women in Science and Engineering Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

The cognitive bias cheat sheet
A different approach to categorising the list of cognitive biases on Wikipedia by Buster Benson with a visual by John Manoogian III called the Cognitive Bias Codex 2016. Buster started with the Wikipedia list, removed duplicates and grouped similar or complimentary biases. Those left were categorised by the problem they’re trying to solve which he has defined as information overload, lack of meaning, the need to act fast and how to know what needs to be remembered for later.

The Real Effects of Unconscious Bias in the Workplace
An 8-page white paper which provides examples of how unconscious bias manifests itself in the workplace; explores its impact; provides steps that can be taken to uncover and minimise its effect; and gives examples of employers who are addressing unconscious bias in their organisations.

Why men still get more promotions than women
An article from a 2010 issue of the Harvard Business Review, outlines why this may be following analysis of in-depth interviews carried out with 40 high-potential men and women who had been selected by their large multi-national company to participate in its high-level mentoring programme.

The resources, set out above, are also included in our Equality and Diversity Resources page.

Recent articles on our blog....

A row of well thumbed cream coloured paper folders

Workplace wellbeing resources – some helpful recent additions

May 16, 2024

Our latest collection of external resources to help workplace wellbeing includes guidance and recommendations relating to a range of topics – autism employment, ensuring EDI is for everyone, information sharing in mental health emergencies at work, menopause in the workplace and women at work.

Read More →
Group of people working around a desk beside a cork board with coloured notes

Why we should focus on minimising employee illbeing to aid workplace wellbeing

May 16, 2024

This post begins with some research which concludes that efforts to improve wellbeing at work are directed too narrowly. It then goes on to highlight some courses that can help employers looking to minimise employee illbeing in the workplace. They present opportunities to explore strategies that can enhance a culture of psychological safety and trust.

Read More →
A row of clear clips with yellow heads showing various emoticon faces clipped onto a cork board

Moving more at work for our mental health

May 15, 2024

In line with the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we offer some simple suggestions for building movement into our working day.

Read More →



Our purpose is to provide training and consultancy services to enhance resilience, health and wellbeing in the workplace.


Differentiation is one of the most strategic and tactical activities in which companies most constantly engage


It's natural to have questions about training and how it fits with your organisation. Our FAQs can help you find out more.


View case studies for some of the in-house training courses we have delivered to different types of organisations across the UK.