If I’m doing it unconsciously then how do I know I’m doing it?

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Just one of the entertaining and startling examples of responses our brilliant trainer Josie gave us today to how some people react to being ‘sent’ on her Unconscious Bias training session.

I too was ‘sent’ on the training but very happy to do so; particularly as I had heard rave reviews from colleagues who had attended earlier sessions.

It’s always great hearing from a subject matter expert and we really had one in our trainer today who was armed with some superb examples – well some superbly disturbing examples – that were accounts of real behaviours in real workplaces – really bad behaviours!

As well as focusing on legislation relating to protected characteristics and the implications of discrimination, the session also covered bullying and harassment, and treating others mutual respect. Topics we think we know all about – until someone presents us with a real life example which challenge our thinking.

The legal aspects were pretty clear cut but what was startling was that changes in legislation and recent updates to legislation were less well known by colleagues in the session.

As Head of Communications, I certainly took a self determined action away to seek out the hints, guides and tips we have for staff and make sure they are more widely promoted. Topics such as what you can put in a reference; how to accommodate staff who adopt or undergo medical gender reassignment; how to deal with bullying; how to make suitable modifications for disabled staff, those with long-term health issues, or for religious beliefs…and more.

I like a training session with solid take-aways and thanks to Josie we had a really good summary and next steps moment at the close of the session; so here are mine:

  • Communicate resources more [as mentioned above]
  • Get my own house in order – become even more attuned to when I might be making biases, albeit unconsciously
  • Call out the poor practices and bad behaviours
  • If acting as the chair of a meeting or recruitment session, set the tone and parameters of what is [and isn’t acceptable]
  • Remember how examples bring topics such as this to life and have the ability to resonate in a powerful way
  • Encourage others to attend this course

Gillian Neild is Head of Communications for the Faculty of Medicine and Health and blogs at and is also on Twitter @GillianNeild

Pages in this document

  1. How connections help women
  2. A little bit about Sara Hayes
  3. Morrisons decrees science reading material is not for women
  4. If I’m doing it unconsciously then how do I know I’m doing it?