How E-Learning Tools Can Reduce Bias in the Hiring Process

Every company wants to hire the best available talent, but could unconscious bias be getting in the way? We took a look at the tech and tools that can help remove bias from your recruitment process.


Unconscious bias encompasses the underlying beliefs and attitudes that we have about certain groups in society, without realizing it. Unconscious bias is not intentional, but it can still have harmful effects in the workplace, if gone unchecked. Specifically, unconscious bias can be very detrimental in the hiring process, as members of certain groups may be overlooked, despite having all the necessary qualifications for the job in question. Our unconscious biases can be shaped by our upbringing, personal backgrounds, and life experiences. For this reason, education is the key to reducing unconscious bias and preventing its negative effects in the workplace.


Because unconscious bias is powered by a lack of awareness, education is the first step to controlling and preventing it. All members of an organization should be educated about what unconscious bias is, what causes it, and the harmful effects that it can have. When it comes to hiring, this education is particularly important for recruiters, hiring managers, and HR personnel. Employees in these positions hold a great deal of influence in determining who gets what job, so it is crucial that these individuals have a solid grasp on their own biases, to allow fairness in the hiring process. E-learning is a powerful tool for providing this education. Online training courses can be customized to fit the needs of many different job roles, so that each learner is receiving training that is relevant to their own experience. Additionally, many digital training platforms allow for user assessments that can direct them to the right training based on their responses. This technology can be used to assign implicit bias tests to employees. These tests are rooted in psychological research and are designed to identify various types of bias, such as racial bias, gender bias, age bias, and disability bias. These tests are excellent tools for determining what kinds of unconscious biases a user may have. When coupled with automated learning management tools, the results from these tests can be used to direct the user to a personalized training plan that will help them eliminate their bias.


Once your HR team is educated on how to identify and overcome their unconscious bias, measures must be taken to ensure that the training is working. Data is the most powerful tool in measuring the effectiveness of anti-bias training. Many learning management systems make it easy to analyze user profiles of newly hired employees. Digital profiles can provide insight into demographic information about employees, such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, or ability status. This data can be compiled for a large number of users, making it easy to analyze demographic patterns. This way, organization leaders can get a sense for hiring patterns, and ensure an adequate level of diversity among their employee base. It is no surprise that diversity is incredibly important for any organization, so leaders must be able to see whether or not certain societal groups are being adequately represented and included in their organizations.


Unconscious bias can extend far beyond the hiring process, and have impacts on day-to-day organizational culture as well. For this reason, performance reviews are incredibly important for amplifying employee voices and promoting fairness. HR employees should be given regular performance reviews by their peers and subordinates. Learning management tools can facilitate digital evaluations, of which the results can be automatically stored and tracked. This makes it easy for organization leaders to gauge employees’ sense of satisfaction in their workplace and identify problem areas for certain HR members. With greater insight into employees’ feelings, leaders will be able to better guide equality and inclusion in their organization.


While unconscious bias is a very real issue that poses a threat to fairness in the workplace, there are many steps that can be taken to reduce its harmful effects. It all begins with education, and requires a commitment to upholding learning outcomes well beyond the initial training phase. Luckily, digital learning tools allow for effective education that leaves a lasting impact on your employees.