Inclusion in the workplace has been a hot topic over the past few years. Rightfully so, employees who feel comfortable being themselves at work are more productive and more likely to stay with their company long-term. But what does that mean exactly? In today’s climate, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your workplace and hiring process includes people with disabilities. Somehow it is ethically and logically essential to implement Disability-Inclusive Best Practices.
And how can your company work towards becoming inclusive in the best way possible? In this article, we’ll dive into Disability Inclusion Strategies For Your Workplace And Hiring Process so you can get started today!
Approximately 15% of the world population has some type of disability, including hearing, visual and physical disabilities; mental illnesses; learning disabilities; or health conditions such as cancer, stroke, or heart disease that can interfere with one’s ability to perform their duties at work. To better attract and retain employees and be more inclusive of people with disabilities, it’s important to implement strategies in the workplace and during the hiring process that support these individuals and their needs.
Disability inclusion in the workplace is necessary in light of an aging population. According to one estimate from The Pew Charitable Trusts, 80 million baby boomers will need some form of long-term care, which will cost $14 trillion over the next 30 years.
Tips to support disability-inclusion:
Communicate with employees about your commitment to inclusion. This can be done through an employee policy or diversity statement.
- Make sure your workplace is physically accessible. This comes with no barriers to entry, exit, or movement within the space.
- Provide access to technology and information. Employees with disabilities should have the same access to technology and information as their non-disabled counterparts.
- Ensure that communication is accessible. This means providing alternative formats for information, such as Braille, large print, or audio files.
- Make sure that employees with disabilities have the same opportunities for career advancement as other employees.
- Provide reasonable accommodations when needed. The Americans with Disabilities Act explains and allows reasonable accommodation as changes in working conditions or work practices that encourage a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Some examples of these changes include allowing flex-time or reduced hours, installing wheelchair ramps, or modifying office furniture.
- Offer training on disability awareness and accessibility for managers and co-workers who interact with employees regularly.
- Offer training on appropriate ways to interact with people who use wheelchairs (i.e., not petting someone’s hair).
- Implement safety measures for people who may have seizures (i.e., flashing lights).
- Empower employees by encouraging them to share what they need to do their jobs well.
How to make your hiring process disability inclusive?
You can do a few key things to make your hiring process more disability inclusive. The practices for your recruitment start are as follows:
First, avoid using ableist language in job postings and hiring processes.
Second, provide accommodations as needed and be flexible in your approach to accommodation.
Third, reach out to disability-focused organizations and job seekers to let them know you are an inclusive employer.
Fourth, provide training for your staff on interviewing and working with people with disabilities.
Finally, follow up after interviewing by sending at least one email asking if they need any additional information or assistance. When evaluating candidates, ensure that everyone is interviewed via phone or video call where possible so it’s easy for disabled candidates to participate.
You want to think about how your company’s goals align with diversity and inclusion – do your values support these efforts? If not, now is the time to examine what needs changing. You also want to set some concrete expectations for hiring managers about their role in promoting a diverse workforce – like by setting quotas on outreach within certain demographics – and then have data available on hiring metrics (e.g., resume applications received from people of color) that show progress toward those goals.
When it comes to inclusion, every organization is different. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are some general strategies that can help make your workplace and hiring process more inclusive for people with disabilities. Be mindful as you work on new Ways to Improve Your Company’s Disability and make the hiring process more accessible:
- Focus on the skills of candidates who have a disability.
- Make sure that their accommodations are understood.
- Include representatives from diverse backgrounds on interview panels.