Managing Implicit Bias with Diversity and Inclusion: An Imperative for Future Success - Discussion Resource

June 2018

Many employers have sought to eradicate behaviors associated with explicit bias. But implicit, or unconscious, bias still has a profound effect on organizational leaders.


Despite all the science, research and education on implicit bias, society has yet to address how such bias routinely affects hiring, development and promotion decisions in the workplace. To explore this issue, in November 2017 the TIAA Institute, the Council on Foundations and Duke University convened a group of roughly 50 leaders from the higher education, philanthropy and private sectors. The event’s objective was to examine how implicit bias impacts organizational effectiveness and efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. This discussion resource lays out the key themes that arose from the convening and raises a number of questions for leaders to consider.

Key Insights
Implicit bias refers to the subconscious reactions people have to the behaviors, traits and characteristics of others.
Internalized early childhood experiences, school and community interactions, and media portrayals all contribute to our thoughts, judgments, and beliefs about other individuals and groups.
As the U.S. becomes increasingly diverse, organizational success will depend on the ability to nurture diverse and inclusive work environments.
What brings diverse talent into an organization is not the same as what it takes to support and keep that talent.
Objective measurements are needed to help ensure truly inclusive institutions.