Why Unconscious Bias Training is Important for Your Bottom Line and Dealership Reputation

unconscious bias

As humans, we all have perceptions and prejudices that can transition into biases if we aren’t careful. If left unchecked, these biases can develop into strong stereotypes or beliefs that significantly hamper your business.

From your receptionist to your senior salesperson, everyone is at risk of letting bias influence how they interact with others. This reason is why activities like unconscious bias training exist. This training is meant to help fight against unsupported judgments in favor of or against another group of people.

So, why is this important in a business sense, and what are the costs of leaving this issue by the wayside at your dealership?

According to Statista, the latest data from 2015 reveals that over 30 percent of new-vehicle buyers in the United States were minorities. Also, 65 percent of new vehicle purchases and service work were from women buyers.

Lastly, not only is overcoming unconscious biases the right thing to do, but it can also improve your bottom line. Companies that emphasize diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns over the industry median. Consequently, your budget and audience reach stand to improve. So, why else should unconscious bias training be on your radar? Please take a look at our takeaways below.

It Can Eradicate Prejudicesunconscious bias

Again, we all have perceptions and prejudices about people based on their income, age, ethnicity, race, and even education-level. However, if these beliefs are not addressed, they can wreck your business’ reputation. Unconscious bias training can help employees to begin recognizing the prejudices they have, understand where they come from, and work to overcome them. Biases do not have to mean that a staff member is racist, sexist, or ageist, and training can help staff approach these issues in a non-threatening way. 

Ensure Your Work Policies are Equitable 

Do you have work policies that could be detrimental to individual employees? For example, you may institute a flexible schedule policy for your workers. However, most parents use this policy, and many of them are passed over for promotions or seen as “unmotivated” by co-workers because they utilize this perk. Unconscious bias training allows you to see where perceptions like this can occur and can prevent groups from feeling as if they are being targeted.

Expand Your Customer Base

As the numbers above reveal, over a fourth of your customer base is a minority audience. These are individuals who will purchase cars, bring their vehicles in for servicing, or refer family members and friends to your dealership. Because of this, it is essential that you and your staff deal with biases that impact how you interact with customers from all walks of life. If these individuals feel as if they are treated with exceptional care, and have transformational customer experiences, then you can count on them to become long-term customers. However, this has to start somewhere, and unconscious bias training can help.

Allot You to See Where You Can Diversify Your Dealership Staff

Diversity is a hot-button word today, and many see the word and concept in a negative or positive light depending on their experiences. However, diversity doesn’t have to be intimidating or condemning. Diversity can allow you to see how your dealership can benefit from hiring people that bring a variety of experiences and knowledge to their role. Unconscious bias training can get you to see where your talent gaps are concerning diversity. Again, 30 percent of car buyers are minorities, and studies have shown that customers respond favorably to diverse companies. So, it benefits you to have a workforce that mirrors your audience.

Help You Know if You are Improving

Much like everything, from sales to web site visits, you only know if you are improving if you measure your approach to handling unconscious bias. For example, after the training, you can set a goal to increase the number of women you have in senior leadership situations. Taking a look at the number of hires is a starting point, however, monitoring how many women are involved in a leadership mentor program or skills-based training can give you a good idea of how female professionals are moving through the pipeline. Ultimately, unconscious bias training can give you the tools you need to begin creating metrics to monitor your diversity efforts.

Final Thoughts

Discussing biases and prejudices is never a comfortable topic. It can be challenging for your team as well as yourself to come to grips with stereotypes and beliefs everyone may have about certain groups of people. However, this doesn’t make anyone a bad employee or person.

Unconscious bias is something we all deal with, and facing these issues head-on with compassion and honesty can help your dealership team better handle these scenarios. Much like everything else, overcoming biases is a process. Fortunately, there are tools in place to help all of your team become even better at what they do. Not only will your bottom line benefit, but so will your reputation and customer relationships.