High-quality, successful implicit-bias training exists and here is what leaders should look for:

  • A non-accusatory, non-judgmental way to show your personnel that all humans have implicit biases. 
  • Realistic skills and strategies that any person can adopt that will help him/her identify and manage biases.
  • A map for agency leadership to encourage an anti-bias culture that is supported by policies, training and measurement.

In a recent article in The Harvard Business Review (Sept.–Oct. 2021), Gino and Coffman report on the various components of successful implicit-bias training, which have shown measurable results. At Fair and Impartial Policing (FIP), we have seen first-hand how these key components yield positive results. 

The two authors advise on how to approach the very sensitive topic of bias with employees. FIP’s success is in no small part due to our firm belief that participants must perceive the training environment as non-accusatory and non-judgmental. This is no easy task for a group of police officers! Our training outlines the science of how implicit biases are formed and take root in our subconscious. Knowing that all of us have biases that impact our perceptions and behaviors puts our trainees at ease. Not only is this approach highly effective with police, it has proven effective with all groups we train. 

Successful implicit-bias training should also convey practical skills. Training can’t just tell people that they have biases, it must also tell them what to do about it.  FIP training goes into great detail about the various ways we can recognize, reduce and manage our biases.  Importantly, these are simple skills—easy to remember and accessible to all.

Finally, leadership is important.  Leaders (from first-line supervisors to executives) must go beyond training personnel.  Policies, practices and internal messaging should all support the agency’s goal of impartial behavior.   FIP’s unique and highly popular executive-level training gathers agency leaders (and sometimes community leaders, as well) to develop action plans for their organizations. This plan encompasses hiring/recruitment, training, supervision/accountability, agency policies, operations, outreach and measurement.

For more information about Fair and Impartial Policing, visit us at www.fipolicing.com.