Can Training Human Resource Professionals Increase Knowledge and Efficacy Regarding the Needs of Employees who are Parents of Children with Disabilities?

Lisa Stewart, California State University Monterey Bay
Julie M. Rosenzweig, Portland State University
Anna M. Malsch, Portland State University
Eileen Brennan, Portland State University


Employed parents raising children with disabilities manage exceptional care responsibilities along with their work careers. This study examines the effects of targeted diversity training on human resource (HR) professionals’ knowledge of work-family experiences of these parents, and on their self-efficacy in providing workplace supports. Using computer-based training in field settings, 64 U. S. human resource professionals in an international company participated in two diversity training sessions. Data related to knowledge and efficacy of dependent and disability care were collected before the first training and immediately after the second. HR participants demonstrated significant increases from pretest to posttest on trained items: knowledge of dependent and disability care, and self-efficacy regarding provision of workplace supports. There was no change in relevant, but untrained variables over time. Training HR professionals on parents’ exceptional care responsibilities and specific community resources, and heightened selfefficacy promoted their likelihood to grant flexible work arrangements. Results suggest HR selfefficacy is developmental, building on prior knowledge of dependent care, and tenure in HR positions. This is the first study that addresses the effects of HR diversity training regarding employees providing exceptional care. Theoretical developments and implications for inclusive practices are discussed.