What is Unconscious Bias and how does it affect us?
Unconscious Bias is
"Implicit attitudes which mediate favourable or unfavourable feeling, thought or action towards people or social objects"
So for example, we might be less favourable towards a certain type of individual because of their accent, which reminds us of someone with a similar accent who was devious and mean. These implicit attitudes or biases can change our perspective on colleagues and associates, and can influence our behaviour towards them. This puts us at risk of losing out on valuable skills or expertise because of old and meaningless perceptions.
BCS and Unconscious Bias
BCS is aiming to be the Gold Standard for diversity in the UK Technology sector; having organisations come to us for advice and support. It is recognised that biases can reduce diversity in organisations and we know that diverse teams are great for British industry. We want those benefits for the UK technology sector.
As a step to making this happen, BCS has introduced an Unconscious Bias programme for officer roles of the BCS Branches and Specialist Groups, with the aim of making our own teams aware of Unconscious Bias and putting our own house in order to successfully guide others. The programme is run regionally by a team of volunteer unconscious Bias Ambassadors.
Unconscious Bias Ambassadors
Unconscious Bias Ambassadors are BCS members who volunteer to deliver the UB programme material to the Chairs, Secretaries and Treasurers of the Branches and Specialist groups who reside in their location/region. List of Ambassadors, regions and contact details available here.
Ambassadors attend a two hour "Train the Trainer" session which teaches them the programme which they will then deliver to their peers. There is online support via a secure area which holds teaching materials, offers guidance and a forum for ambassadors to discuss experiences, issues or to ask questions.
Can I be an Ambassador?
Yes! all you need are
- Good organisational skills, including organising training sessions
- Ease in presenting in front of small to medium size groups
- Ability to five a minimum of two hours to take part in the "Train the Trainer" course
- Availability to run two or three training sessions per year for Chairs, Treasurers and Secretaries near your location
If you think you could help by becoming an ambassador and would like to be included in any future Train the Trainer workshops, please email firstname.lastname@example.org expressing your interest