There’s a new platform for tech companies to manage unconscious bias

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Unconscious biases can play a role in what type of people get hired, promoted and fired in the workplace. Unfortunately, we all have unconscious biases. Though, some have more problematic (racist and/or sexist) ones than others. That’s why diversity consulting startup Paradigm and HR platform Emtrain have co-launched an online course to teach people how to manage their unconscious biases.

Managing Unconscious Bias, a two-year online course, monitors employee progress and identifies unconscious bias “hotspots” in the workplace. The course implements video, dialogue and other activities to engage employees. It also gathers and shares feedback from those participating, and provides anonymized data to employers.

“This is really facilitating an online dialogue,” Emtrain CEO Janine Yancey told me. “It’s an ongoing program and dialogue, and what I’m excited about is soliciting some of these personal experiences that people might not otherwise feel comfortable sharing.”

The platform, which costs $30 per learner, per year (depending on the size of the company), is designed to be action-oriented and delivered across large groups of people. Before someone gets started with the course, they’ll be directed to Harvard’s online implicit association test, which can give someone an idea of the unconscious biases they have around race, gender, sexual orientation and other topics.

Right now, TechStars is piloting the program and Dolby has recently signed on to use it. Paradigm offers in-person unconscious bias trainings to tech companies including Airbnb, Pinterest, Slack and Asana. But it’ll be entirely up to them if they want to use the Managing Unconscious Bias platform, Paradigm CEO Joelle Emerson told me.

“We see this as an awesome starting point, especially for larger organizations needing to be able to scale something that is effective,” Emerson said.

And a starting point is all it should be. If a company sees an unconscious bias training or course as a solution to its problems, that’s problematic, Emerson said. Instead, companies need to take the data they’ve collected and use it to revamp existing systems.