April 24, 2018

‘Unconscious Bias’ Training: Talent Pipeline Sustainability

Reentry Reentry

By Beverly M. Riddick

What does it mean to have an unconscious bias?  Do we all have it; and how do we overcome it in our recruiting and hiring practices?

Unconscious Bias and Building a Sustainable Pipeline

  • What does it mean?
  • What is the intended impact?
  • How do you measure impact? 
  • What place, if any, does it have in the recruitment process?

These are questions that an employer may ask when making the decision whether or not to invest in ‘unconscious bias’ training in the workplace.  As industry struggles to build future skilled talent pipelines, a compelling solution can be found in a more inclusive workforce resulting from bias-free hiring.  

What is it?

 ‘..deeply subconscious attitudes [that] span race, gender, appearance, wealth and much more.. hidden drivers [that] can impact many areas of business, from impairing diversity and retention rates to promoting a disconnected culture…[that] undermine recruiting efforts and employee development, which can be destabilizing to an organization.’

‘Unconscious bias’ plays a significant role in talent sourcing and pipeline decisions.  For employers, the hiring decision often hinges on what looks and feels most familiar.  Job seeker differentiators like race, age, gender and abilities, are the implicit driver in the final (or beginning) decision factors.  Even companies that have adopted progressive anti ‘unconscious bias’ policies and procedures admit that there is still a lot of work to do before the playing field is leveled in favor of ‘barrier’ populations. 

Impact and Cost

The impact of ‘unconscious bias’ contributes to the absence of skills necessary to reach projected productivity.  Over time, the growing gap in market-driven skills leads to diminished ROI and financial sustainability.  

But how does a business measure whether or not hiring bias today, let alone 10 years from now, will negatively impact its ability to expand market share?  A good starting place is to analyze the skill sets needed to meet business strategic goals and objectives.  Led by the executive team with contributions from business, recruiting, marketing and social responsibility professionals, a sourcing process should be designed to include strategies that integrate both conventional talent profiles and an inclusive pool of candidates. However, anti-bias training for business and hiring professionals is critical to meet diversity and inclusion goals.  

Through anti-bias training, senior management, talent acquisition, business development and other professionals are guided in their considerations of an enhanced variety of candidates such as: 

  • a 57-year-old female project manager with 15 years of experience
  • a high functioning autistic tech specialist
  • a veteran who has never worked in the private sector 
  • a 24-year-old with a marketable credential but who does not have a college degree  

As businesses calculate the value of this training, it is recommended that they tally the cost of unfilled positions, and/or turnover measured against their longer range company growth objectives.  The ultimate cost will provide sufficient evidence in favor of diverse and inclusive hires as part of the long-term hiring strategy.   

Unique Hiring Approaches and Other Solutions 

‘Successful business owners understand curating and fostering their business culture translates into higher attraction and retention rates for customers, clients, talent, and vendors.’
Sherrill Curtis, Curtis Consulting Group

RTWBC offers Talent Acquisition Masterclass Certification, a series of six, two-hour virtual sessions, ideal for fast-paced business leaders, HR professionals and anyone in the organization responsible for hiring and building high performing individuals and teams. This training is essential for any organization that wants to attract and retain talent and grow their business to the next level including bias awareness. 

Learn more about the Ready To Work Business Collaborative advisory members listed below who are leading the way in implementing diverse and inclusive hiring best practices:  

Today, successful businesses are making plans to grow in size and productivity and are grappling with human capital challenges.  Experts predict that by 2020 millennials will make up 50% of the workforce and minorities will comprise 37%.  Where will they find the skilled talent that they need?  Employers who stay ahead of the game will be the ones to survive.   


Ready To Work Business Collaborative, founded by a collective of Fortune 500 companies, is committed to working cooperatively to develop hiring best practices that target the long-term unemployed, under-employed, people with disabilities, military veterans, and Opportunity Youth. The RTWBC accomplishes this mission through collaboration, thought-leadership, and services that support employers who desire to serve these talent pools better.

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Ready To Work Business Collaborative works cooperatively to help employers develop hiring best practices that target the long-term unemployed, underemployed, people with disabilities, military veterans, and Opportunity Youth.

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