On May 29, 2018, over 8,000+ Starbucks locations around the country closed for an afternoon to conduct anti-bias training. Over 175,000 Starbucks employees participated in the training focused on addressing implicit bias.
This training follows a much-publicized incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks in April, when two black men were arrested while sitting and waiting for an associate to arrive. A Starbucks employee called 911 after one of the men asked to use the restroom before buying anything, and then remained in the shop. Other patrons took videos of the arrests, which went viral and picked up nation-wide attention. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized for the incident, and announced Starbucks would be closing the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias education training for employees. The training will also become a part of the hiring process for new employees.
Recent studies in psychology suggest that we all have implicit biases, and that these biases influence our decisions. In the workplace, these implicit biases lead to micro-aggressions – small slights or offenses that may go mostly unnoticed, but can add up to systemic discrimination or a hostile work environment.
One area where implicit bias is likely to appear is in the hiring process. Research shows, for example, that resumes with white-sounding names are more likely to get callbacks than resumes with black-sounding names. And it’s not because companies have official policies or practices against hiring minorities; it’s the result of unconscious bias.
Employers and companies can learn from Starbucks and can work to prevent incidents involving bias through preventative training. Training to prevent discrimination in the workplace can not only limit an employer’s liability in a potential lawsuit, but can also help foster a healthy and welcoming company culture.
For more information on how to employ anti-bias training and help prevent implicit or explicit bias at your company, contact the Human Resources Professionals at Payday HCM’s HR Consulting Division. Payday HCM offers comprehensive on-site HR Consulting Services to help you navigate employment issues, and proactively create policy to manage your work environments. Our experts can provide you with a complete suite of services, including:
• Handbook and policy formulation
• EEOC Manager Training
• Harassment and discrimination investigations
• Risk mitigation
• Interactive trainings on the responsibilities and requirements or managers
• Interactive trainings on the responsibilities and rights of employees
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