PRESS: Virtual Reality Program Helps Mitigate Unconscious Bias
BCT Partners and Red Fern Consulting announce the launch of the first Virtual Reality tool that will transform diversity training programs and help to mitigate unconscious bias in the workplace. Workplace discrimination, which is related to unconscious bias, costs businesses an estimated $64 billion annually, according to a recent report from the Center for American Progress.
A new partnership between BCT and Red Fern will help move organizations from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion. The VR program they have jointly developed is called Through My Eyes and will enable organizations to teach their employees how to recognize unconscious bias through scenarios that will be played out in real time.
According to Steve Mahaley, co-founder of Red Fern Consulting, “The goal is to blend VR immersions and data capture to create a powerful experience that helps individuals recognize their own bias in action.” And it could not come at a better time. Most corporations are actively trying to recruit and retain employees with diverse backgrounds. Yet despite the positive intentions, most of these programs are failing according to an article in the Harvard Business Review. The article states that “the positive effects of traditional diversity training rarely last beyond a day or two and that it can activate bias or spark a backlash.”
As Dr. Randal Pinkett, co-founder and CEO of BCT Partners states, “One of the shortcomings with traditional diversity and inclusion programs is that those who are being trained never actually ‘walk in the shoes’ of someone who faces bias in their daily life. Through My Eyes changes all of that because it uses VR to put people in actual situations where they have to confront some of their own obvious or hidden prejudices.”
The VR experience will enable the user to take part in two different ways. In the first scenario, they can simply be an observer to how bias plays out in various situations and data will be captured regarding their reactions. The second will allow them to experience the VR scene as one of the characters, accelerating understanding and empathy for how bias affects different demographics. Data from choices made in these experiences is fed back to the participants, and leveraged for developing personal learning agendas.
With BCT Partners’ successful track record in diversity and inclusion consulting combined with Red Fern’s expertise in developing transformative educational experiences, the two companies are uniquely positioned to bring this program to organizations nationwide. For more information, contact BCT Partners or Red Fern Consulting.