07: How Unconscious Bias Can Affect a Leader's Decision Making

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  • Katherin Nukk-Freeman discusses how recognizing our Unconscious Biases can make us better leaders
In this episode, Katherin Nukk Freeman discusses how she decided to start her new venture, SHIFT HR Compliance Training. As the co-founder of Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, P.C., a highly ranked Employment Law Firm with offices in New York and New Jersey, Katherin has established herself as a dynamic employment law training instructor and industry thought leader, presenting frequently on employment law matters and more recently on unconscious bias in the workplace. Katherin’s focus has been to partner with clients to develop and implement strategies to manage risk, comply with the law, increase productivity and create an overall better workplace.
Katherin created SHIFT HR Compliance Training to provide innovative, engaging and impactful online training services to companies of all sizes from start-ups to the Fortune 50. SHIFT’s online training programs focus on the nuanced areas that employees often have difficulty navigating in the workplace and use highly interactive modules to engage employees to consider their own behavior. SHIFT's training programs help companies create a better culture of ethical & professional behavior and diversity & inclusion in the workplace.

Key Learnings From This Episode

  • How Katherin found her niche: Katherin explains that she is an avid reader of self-help and leadership books. She explains how she applies the principles at the office. In addition, her interaction with many vendors inspired her to go after her passion of providing exceptional customer service to clients.
  • The story behind SHIFT HR Compliance Training: Katherin worked extensively educating companies on HR compliance training matters, such as anti-harassment and discrimination training. As she started to develop this niche, she realized that the top managers received strong training while the rest of the workforce received basic online training. Katherin sourced many online training courses and realized that the content available was “dumbed-down” and not engaging employees to learn from the material. She decided to create training for all levels of an organization.
  • Why Unconscious Bias?
    EEOC statistics show that harassment complaints keep increasing even though companies are providing training. Curious as to why this is happening, Katherin began to investigate Unconscious Bias. She soon realized that harassment and discrimination training courses were not training on unconscious bias. Along with Katherin’s employment law experience, SHIFT hired a Social Scientist with a PhD from Stanford to assist in building training around unconscious bias.
  • Why is it important for HR Leaders to understand Unconscious Bias?
    HR Leaders often coach, lead and develop their teams. It is important for them to understand other team members. Second, they can look at infrastructure and see what processes are in place that are hindering or impeding us because of unconscious bias (e.g. recruiting).
  • A deeper dive…
    Most people do not know how biased they are. The Implicit Association Test is a free online tool that can be used to see where your biases lie. A person’s stated values are often inconsistent with their unconscious bias. For example, after taking the IAT himself, Malcolm Gladwell, who is bi-racial, found that he associated more with whites than blacks. This came as a shock to him at first but then realized his environment had a major effect on him.
Employers can start to improve workplace culture and meet their diversity and inclusion goals by raising awareness and by helping employees understand how their unconscious biases impact their everyday workplace decisions.

“HR Leaders need to be aware of what unconscious bias is so they can coach and lead appropriately.”

– Katherin Nukk-Freeman  

Recommended Reading and References From this Episode

To Follow Katherin Nukk-Freeman

Katherin’s Question to HR Studio Podcast Group Members

What as an employer are you doing to combat unconscious bias?

Katherin Nukk-Freeman HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Katherin Nukk-Freeman HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Monday, June 13, 2016 - 8:00am
Linda Hlavac
Katherin Nukk-Freeman
HR Studio Podcast