Partnering to Educate All Employees on Unconscious Bias
Research clearly supports that diversity of thought in the workplace increases employee engagement and delivers better business results. Ketchum, a global public relations firm, wanted a deep partnership with a diversity and inclusion consulting firm whose approach would be well received by leadership and employees to implement customized Unconscious Bias training in the U.S. and U.K. The goal of this program was to create more understanding and awareness around biases to cultivate a more creative, inclusive workplace.
Cook Ross is supporting Ketchum’s vision to launch a customized Unconscious Bias education program for its senior leaders and managers that focuses on how Unconscious Bias operates in the workplace, its impact on an organization, and ways that leaders can model inclusive behaviors to mitigate it. The first to go through the training were the company’s CEO, Global President, and Global Leadership Council. Cook Ross and Ketchum engaged agency leaders who can most visibly set the tone and model behaviors for the rest of the company early on. Each training was approximately four hours, featuring scenario-based exercises customized for Ketchum to help employees consider ways to navigate different types of biases such as personality, assumptions about who looks like a leader and who doesn’t, distance bias for remote teams, gender bias, age bias, and culture fit bias. To expand the organizational knowledge of Unconscious Bias, Cook Ross is currently facilitating a customized four-hour Unconscious Bias Foundations course, which Ketchum has titled Mind Your Bias, for cohorts of local leaders and people managers. The specific focus of the program is on mitigating bias in collaboration, decision making and talent management.
Since January 2017, 270 of Ketchum’s leaders, managers and employees have attended Cook Ross’ training in the U.S. across six of their office locations. We hope to train 300 more employees with the goal of most leaders and managers to have completed the training by the end of the year.
Ketchum firmly believes that diversity, equity, and inclusion don’t just happen by accident. It requires a consistent, focused effort to be a creative environment where talent feels empowered to bring their whole self to work. Prior to working with Cook Ross, Ketchum created LaunchPad, a gamified selection process used to recruit entry-level talent, which brought in blind hiring. The Mind Your Bias training has helped Ketchum have real, open dialogue about diversity, equity and inclusion. It has inspired continued innovative initiatives that mitigate bias in talent acquisition and engagement programs with the goals being to hire and retain more diverse talent.
The Mind Your Bias program also helped inspire the development of Ketchum and Fast Company’s Creative Echo Chamber study, which explores unconscious bias and insularity in the creative ranks.
“I’ve been working with Lenora [a Cook Ross Consultant] and Cook Ross for about half a year to implement and deliver Unconscious Bias training at Ketchum. Words cannot properly express how thrilled I am with Lenora as a facilitator of this content. She has created the space for people to process the material in an open and safe way and make real changes to the ways that they work with others and make decisions. The feedback we’ve received about Lenora has been endlessly positive, with colleagues saying that Lenora was extremely engaging, made them feel comfortable discussing sensitive subjects and helped them uncover their own biases”.
– Julia Dranov, Organizational Effectiveness Consultant at Ketchum