Employees with disabilities boast a 72% higher retention rate than employees without disabilities, and their performance can exceed that of other team members by up to 90%.
Workplace accessibility is vital for enabling individuals with disabilities to fully participate, thrive, and unleash their potential – contributing their unique skills and perspectives. However, despite the undeniable value and talent that employees with disabilities bring, some hiring professionals may overlook these benefits or harbor unconscious biases that limit their consideration during the hiring process. This highlights the critical importance for organizations to prioritize workplace accessibility. By embarking on this journey towards a more equitable and empowering work environment, companies can collectively foster a culture of inclusivity and harness the full potential of every individual.
In honor of National Disability Independence Day on July 26th and Disability Pride Month throughout July, here is an exploration of the benefits of being an inclusive employer.
Numerous benefits come to an organization that supports employees with disabilities.
One advantage is access to a broad range of perspectives and skills that companies are unlikely to have if they focus solely on hiring candidates who fit a specific mold. People with disabilities can draw upon their own experiences at work and share their unique outlooks. These valuable perspectives can prove highly beneficial to the organizations that welcome them.
Incorporating diversity and inclusivity into an organization’s hiring processes allows companies to access a much larger talent pool. According to the CDC, over 25% of working-age adults have some type of disability, including deafness, mobility problems, blindness, or cognitive issues.
Greater diversity also improves business innovation. An employee with a disability will see a company’s business objectives from a different perspective than other employees. Their insights can help an organization improve its products or services – making them more accessible to everyone – or assist in marketing and sales campaigns that connect with a greater audience.
Hiring employees with disabilities leads to more robust business performance. A fully diverse workforce is twice as likely to meet financial goals and six times more likely to anticipate market changes within their industry. Workplaces that recognize the value of employees with disabilities see higher team productivity and less employee turnover.
Diverse workforces promote acceptance among all employees, leading to a greater sense of belonging and more fruitful connections among colleagues. Organizations see a more cohesive work culture where employees feel proud of their company and their place in it.
Promoting a workplace’s diversity and inclusivity can strengthen its reputation. Potential workers and customers alike naturally gravitate toward supportive companies that embrace everyone. After all, organizations that recognize the inherent value in all people will stand out from those that don’t.
Another benefit of a diverse workforce is resilience. Companies that take a proactive stance on hiring people with disabilities are better positioned to adapt to all internal or external changes. They face challenges head-on and develop comprehensive, thoughtful solutions that strengthen the organization from the top down.
Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace takes some effort. To truly embrace accessibility, organizations must demonstrate commitment through all their recruitment strategies and hiring practices. Here are a few ideas to consider.
Most companies flock to job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor to promote their openings. However, accessibility-minded hiring professionals should also post jobs on websites especially geared toward individuals with disabilities.
Here are several job boards where individuals with disabilities can find opportunities:
Occasionally, cities and disability-focused organizations will host job fairs exclusively for people who need accessibility accommodations. Recruitment marketing professionals should attend these job fairs to connect with solid candidates seeking opportunities in supportive organizations.
It’s one thing to hire an employee with a disability, but they probably won’t stay long if the company can’t support their physical needs. Ensuring the organization has structures supporting team members who are blind, deaf, or mobility-impaired is critical.
Hiring managers should carefully consider the set up of their office to ensure it has suitable structures in place to support disabilities. For instance, elevators can help a person with a wheelchair move from one place to another, while braille signs will benefit someone with vision impairment.
Organizations may also need to consider their technology stack and whether it supports individuals with vision, cognitive, or mobility impairments. To elaborate, someone who is blind won’t be able to view a computer screen, but it’s possible to incorporate tools that allow them to perform office duties involving a computer.
Tip: To better inform action steps and to learn where the company could improve, it’s a good idea to conduct a DEIB survey to understand how employees feel about the workplace and where they believe improvements could be made. By using their feedback, management can set a benchmark for their DEIB programs and re-evaluate them as they progress.
People who don’t have a disability may not understand the challenges others face daily. Hiring managers can educate team members on disability empathy and acknowledgment in the workplace through training seminars. Training can help employees without disabilities learn how to effectively work with colleagues with cognitive differences.
Companies that want to demonstrate inclusivity to employees with disabilities should carefully consider their communications. It’s crucial to remove any non-sensitive language that might be off-putting to someone with a disability. Particularly important materials include job descriptions, job postings, and employee handbooks. Hiring professionals should scrutinize these documents to ensure they’re fair and don’t exclude individuals with disabilities.
For example, some job descriptions include details that aren’t entirely accurate and unintentionally discriminate against people with disabilities. Statements like “ability to lift 30 pounds,” “must sit for long periods of time,” or “must have a driver’s license” should be carefully considered for accuracy. Employers should remove them if they aren’t truly required for the role and instead focus more on the skills, knowledge, and talent required.
In the same manner, any external content (like social media posts or videos that potential candidates may see) should also be scrutinized to ensure it isn’t exclusionary.
After implementing an accessibility policy, it’s crucial to follow through and incorporate it throughout an organization’s business processes. Here are a few best practices to consider.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the most comprehensive law concerning employment for individuals with disabilities. After its implementation, companies became responsible for providing the support necessary for employees with disabilities. The law also prevents companies from discriminating against them.
Organizations must follow several specific items to remain in compliance with the ADA. A few include:
While the ADA has done much to improve employment opportunities among workers with disabilities, it’s not perfect. Unemployment among those with disabilities is nearly double that of their peers without disabilities. Employers who hire those with disabilities aren’t just benefiting their organization; they’re also supporting their community by driving down those rates.
Hiring professionals are used to interviewing individuals without disabilities. Sometimes, they may inadvertently use terms during the interview process that are offensive to those who have a disability.
To elaborate, when a recruitment professional selects someone for an interview, they’re unlikely to know the applicant has a disability unless it’s physically evident. They might reach out to an applicant for an interview and then discover the person uses a wheelchair when they arrive.
It’s critical to prepare for every interview ahead of time and incorporate terminology that’s friendly to everyone, whether they come from a diverse background or are living with a disability. It’s essential to have processes on-site to ensure it’s accessible to all. Training hiring professionals for these situations can go a long way to prevent any fallout from the interview and ensure that the discussion is free from bias.
To further ensure that the interview and selection processes are disability-friendly, companies can rely on a diverse group of people to carry out these tasks. This way, a broad array of perspectives are considered in the hiring decision – rather than the limited perspective of just one or two people.
Before a company hires someone with a disability, it’s important to ensure they have the tools they need to perform well in their new role. Just as a company trains managers and other employees on empathy and sensitivity, new hires with disabilities could likely use some assistance, too. Having these tools in place and taking proactive steps may even increase the opportunities and possibilities of a company bringing someone with a disability on.
Make sure the newest team member receives adequate guidance on the tasks they’ll need to perform. Ask them whether they need any additional accommodations. Appointing a strong mentor to coach them through the process is highly beneficial.
Initiating or engaging with a DEIB committee is a proactive step towards raising awareness and providing support for workers with disabilities. By involving the committee, employers can discuss resources and strategies to promote inclusivity. It is essential to prioritize education, cultivate awareness, and actively revise hiring processes to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities. These deliberate efforts contribute to the success of DEIB strategies, leading to meaningful and enduring change while fostering a culture of support and compassion within the organization.
Once an organization emphasizes diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it’s critical to incorporate these policies everywhere and visibly display them – maybe even publicly share employee testimonials to demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s new policies. These steps help to instill and showcase the company values into the brand and elevate them above mere talking points. They also help companies connect with employees and make them feel valued and heard.
Tip: Using video is a great way to create employee-generated content and lift the voices of employees in an engaging way.
Employees with disabilities can offer a lot of value to an organization. Promoting greater diversity in an organization’s workforce can reduce turnover, create a stronger work culture, and greatly improve business results. Hiring managers should consider these benefits as they widen their teams to include more individuals with disabilities.
In the current recruitment landscape, video is a powerful tool for setting an organization apart from the competition and making a lasting impression on candidates. By utilizing video, recruitment professionals can effectively showcase the company's unique attributes and attract top talent. In a time when standing out is crucial, leveraging video can significantly impact hiring efforts.
If you're looking to audit your recruitment strategies to ensure they are accessible for people with disabilities, reach out to Recruitics! Our team of recruitment experts believe everyone should be seen, heard, valued and empowered to succeed and are dedicated to revamping strategies to showcase the diversity of today's workforce.