Needs of human resource professionals in implicit bias and disability inclusion training: A focus group study

Jill Bezyak, Elysia Versen, Fong Chan, Deborah Lee, Jia Rung Wu, Kanako Iwanaga, Phil Rumrill, Xiangli Chen, Hanson Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Research investigating the implicit bias of employers towards individuals with disabilities emphasizes the importance of increased attention to implicit bias in the workplace. Previous research supports the use of trainings to promote awareness and education of implicit and explicit bias toward people with disabilities among employers. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the current study was to better understand employers’ stigmatizing attitudes toward individuals with disabilities and develop effective strategies to increase awareness and knowledge related to these negative attitudes. METHODS: Two focus groups of HR professionals were conducted to investigate guidelines and content areas that should be included in training. Data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis (QCA) methodology. RESULTS: Researchers identified four major themes regarding guidelines for training development: 1) educational information on implicit and explicit bias, 2) disability inclusion information and strategies, 3) consideration of multiple learning modalities, and 4) case studies. CONCLUSION: Training interventions incorporating these needs and preferences of HR professionals may more effectively increase awareness of implicit bias in the workplace. Sharing evidence regarding implicit and explicit bias, along with current information on disability inclusion, while using varied instructional strategies may lead to a reduction in disability-related stigma and discrimination in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 8 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 – IOS Press. All rights reserved.


  • Unconscious bias
  • disability inclusion
  • human resource managers
  • in-service training
  • onboarding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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