SunShower Learning: Unconscious Bias Training That Works

Sep 25, 2023

Defeating unconscious Bias promo of woman looking at camera

“Most [DEI] programs end exactly where they should start.”  

“Only 10% of training programs gave attendees strategies for reducing bias. Imagine a weight-loss program that told participants to step on a scale and left it at that.”   

– Harvard Business Review

According to the
Harvard Business Review, companies across the world are striving to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in response to concerns about workplace racism and exclusion. They have turned to unconscious bias (UB) training to address these issues, but research suggests that conventional UB training is often ineffective and can even backfire. The most effective UB training goes beyond raising awareness and aims to teach employees and leaders how to manage their biases, change their behavior and track their progress. It also involves structural changes such as standardizing hiring processes, eliminating self-assessments from performance reviews and instituting diversity incentives. Rigorous UB programs have been shown to reduce bias and prejudice, increase workplace inclusivity, foster a greater sense of belonging and respect among employees and improve a company’s overall productivity and success. However, finding training programs that can reliably deliver these positive outcomes can be challenging. That’s precisely what sets SunShower Learning apart.

The problem with most unconscious bias training
Conventional unconscious bias training has significant flaws. It’s often voluntary, attracting those already familiar with bias, and it lacks metrics that track diversity efforts. Most programs merely explain bias without offering concrete strategies for change. In contrast, effective UB training provides tools to change behavior, foster understanding of others’ experiences and promote inclusivity. This approach includes education on implicit bias, personal feedback and strategies such as challenging stereotypes, seeking individualized information and adopting different perspectives. Research indicates that such training can lead to long-lasting changes in behavior and attitudes, making it a more successful model than traditional UB training.

The importance of a multifaceted approach
Conventional unconscious bias training has its shortcomings, primarily because people often deny the extent and consequences of their bias. To address this, effective UB training should focus on everyday scenarios where subtle bias exists, not just extreme cases. 

The Harvard Business Review also offers these additional recommendations:

• To foster change, UB training should highlight the brain’s malleability, emphasizing that while bias is normal, it’s not acceptable or unavoidable. Encouraging curiosity and prompting participants to take the perspective of others can reduce bias.

• Interactions among people from different groups can combat bias, but discomfort should be acknowledged as a catalyst for change. Organizations should expand inner circles, encouraging employees to interact with diverse colleagues.

• To ensure that training is effective, organizations should commit to improvement, find mentors, solicit feedback and track progress. This involves holding individuals accountable by monitoring behavioral changes over time.

• For broader impact, organizations should build foundations for diversity and inclusion, measure the effectiveness of UB training, nudge people toward better decisions and review and revise policies that perpetuate bias.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a workplace where everyone feels a sense of belonging and appreciation, turning the desire for diversity, equity and inclusion into a reality. A great deal of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training is falling short, and the Harvard Business Review article makes the case for precisely what distinguishes SunShower Learning.


>>> The SunShower Learning difference <<<

“SunShower’s Defeating Unconscious Bias eLearning is the most engaging eLearning product I’ve seen.
We are getting very positive feedback. It is the first time we’ve seen people making a point to tell us how good the training is. Stellar! ”

— K. Riley, Training Specialist, Fortune 500 Company

20+ years of documentary filmmaking experience in creating videos with emotional impact
Joel Lesko began his filmmaking career producing documentary films. He worked with thought leaders like Deepak Chopra and Vice President Al Gore to shine and later founded SunShower Learning based on his passion for using film to tell stories that educate, inspire and ultimately make a positive difference. This background is evident in how SunShower Learning designs courses centered on engaging and thought-provoking storytelling.

For example, Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts was filmed in New York City with an HBO documentary cinematographer, and it rocked the training world. It won multiple awards and was a groundbreaking training video – before DEI was even a focus at most organizations. The training combined emotional storytelling, thought-provoking ideas and practical tools – like 6 simple techniques to speak up. Hundreds of thousands of employees have learned how to speak up with Ouch!  Read more about Joel Lesko’s background in documentary filmmaking.

Tools to help employees and leaders turn insights into action
Equipping training participants with the necessary tools to transform insights into actionable results is paramount in fostering growth and development. These tools serve as a bridge between knowledge acquisition and practical application, enabling individuals to effectively apply what they’ve learned to real-world scenarios. For example, in our Defeating Unconscious Bias course, we teach five strategies: 

  • Watch your first thoughts (for a sign of a bias or assumption).
  • Use the power of logic questions.
  • Hit the pause button.
  • Counteract the bias with concrete actions.
  • Cultivate common ground.

These tools facilitate the transition from passive learning to active implementation, empowering participants to make a tangible impact and contribute to a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.  Read more about SunShower Learning’s approach here. 

A distinguished team of world-class DEI experts, including Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D., a renowned expert on unconscious bias
We’ve collaborated with a team of authors, speakers and facilitators – true luminaries in the world of DEI – to create our courses. The collective intelligence and experience are only outweighed by the passion these talented leaders bring to the work.

You will learn from thought leaders and experts as well as C-suite executive with proven track records in operationalizing and measuring DEI initiatives.

Our course, Defeating Unconscious Bias, draws from the extensive expertise of Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D., a respected author and speaker renowned for her work in assisting numerous organizations in tackling bias one step at a time. Based on her book, 3 Keys to Defeating Unconscious Bias, and enriched by her thirty years of DEI consulting and research, this course complies with high standards of accessibility. It offers an engaging blend of video scenarios, interactive activities and exercises The lessons are further reinforced through a 10-question quiz, ensuring a comprehensive, actionable learning experience. Read more about Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D. and the rest of the SunShower Learning team.

And there’s even more that sets SunShower Learning apart:

  • Compliance with the highest standards of accessibility
  • Blended training formats
  • Experience with small businesses, multinational organizations and everything in between
  • Dozens of training and diversity awards
  • 5-star reviews on Google Reviews and Trustpilot

Experience the SunShower Learning difference for yourself. Check out the preview below. Please also feel free to get in touch to learn more.