Yearly archives: 2014

Unconscious Bias – Is it as pervasive as we’re led to believe? 1

It’s 7.30 a.m. and a solitary figure, head bowed, collar up, fighting the wind and rain, drags a resource filled suitcase and trudges towards reception. The words of my own ‘stay at home’ mum ‘Oh darling, you’ve not had to leave the girls again have you?’ ringing in my guilt-ridden ears. But I’m here not because I need to be, but because I want to be. An anxious prickle hits me as I spy the uniform clad guard with, as it turns out, unnecessary trepidation. Their smile cracks and immediately my response system metamorphosises and I am able to brightly comment on the hideous weather and announce I’m here to deliver their training on unconscious bias.

What were your immediate thoughts of the figure dragging the suitcase? What picture do you have of my mum? In your head was the security guard male or female? Unconscious bias drives our interpretation of the world and our reactions and interactions with others, but how often do we give ourselves the time to stop and question why we make the assumptions we make?

I feel so lucky – I love my job! Working collaboratively with clients tailoring training programmes designed to meet the specific needs of their organisations. Facilitating the delivery of the sessions and working alongside individuals to support and sustain behavioural and attitudinal change provides me with an immense amount of satisfaction.

Having delivered Inclusion and Diversity training for the past 12 years one becomes accepting of the fact that we are bound to face a certain amount of cynicism, albeit from a small number of delegates, who sense this type of training is only in place to cover the company legislatively and ‘tick those boxes’. Our exploration into Unconscious Bias began 5 years ago with a project on Inclusive Leadership and how, as leaders, personal bias may manipulate and influence the decisions that drive the future of the organisation. We have since developed programmes that support colleagues at all levels of industry, helping them to understand how unconscious bias potentially filtrates interactions, permeates the core of a business and impacts on everything from the way we engage with our customers, to the difficult conversations we elect to have or the health and safety issues we decide to challenge.

By very nature of the fact unconscious bias is pervasive, natural and necessary it readily becomes tangible for all. For me, the most exciting part of our sessions is when, due to their experiential nature, I witness the light bulb moment. The moment when individuals recognise their own biases, behaviours and thought processes and the potential impact these might be having on the people they work alongside.

If you’d like to know more about the way in which we deliver unconscious bias training, the results we produce or if you’re interested in knowing more about how to test your own biases, please do give me a call, tel. +44 (0)1484 310234, or drop me a line.

By the way, my mum’s hugely supportive of my career and the security guard was female!

Keep the Customer Satisfied

We’ve now finished delivering a highly innovative ‘Customer Service’ programme for several hundred employees of an NHS Commissioning Support Unit.

The training sessions involved our usual dynamic mix of live drama, audio visual material, electronic voting, and lots and lots of interaction and exploration of best practice.

I’m pleased to say that, once again, the evaluation afterwards revealed enthusiastic participants who clearly got a lot from doing the training.

  • 100% found it useful when it came to understanding how to communicate better
  • 100% found it useful for exploring what makes good customer service
  • 99% found it useful for identifying ways to improve both the internal and external customer experience
  • 99% found it useful for learning how to handle unhappy customers
  • 100% rated the session positively (most of these said it was either ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’)

Okay, so I’m blowing our trumpet here. But forgive me, I’m just chuffed at a job well done. And it’s not just me, here’s how our client summed it up:

“Enact worked with us right from the very beginning to establish our needs and bespoke the content of the programme to ensure it delivered the correct corporate message. The programme was interactive and thought provoking and well received by the delegates as well as being delivered at a high standard of professionalism.”

And, in their own words, here’s what some of the employees who took part said:

“I liked all the ‘technologies’ – the voting system, role plays with props – it kept my interest and didn’t feel like I was just being lectured to.”

“I was initially sceptical before today, but I really enjoyed it, learnt something and will recommend to others.”

“Excellent delivery – I really enjoyed the session – really professional and insightful. Good research and preparation tailored to the CSU.”

“It worked well. I would recommend the session to colleagues. We covered a lot in three hours but it still felt relaxed with plenty of interaction.”

“Excellent actors, very interactive, better than normal training sessions where you sit and listen for hours.”

“I have organised, attended and facilitated training over the last 10 years and this is one of the best. Very worthwhile to attend and reflect.”