· Tricia Tan  · 6 min read

Inclusive Hiring: Supporting Candidates With Disabilities

Our societal systems were generally designed with people without impairments in mind. As a result, it is frequently taken for granted that we can navigate stairs, see, hear instructions, pay attention to announcements, and perform many other daily tasks.

Our techniques and methods are evolving as more people realize that we are not such a black-and-white society and that there are numerous differences to consider in every aspect of life.

And last but not least, at work. So what can we do to establish a fair and impartial hiring process and workplace?

Even though many nations have some disability employment legislation in their labor laws, these policies frequently have flaws and are not consistently enforced.

Only 4% of companies, according to the World Economic Forum, are committed to giving disabled workers an equitable opportunity at work.

Have you given much thought to your workplace disability inclusion policies or even the employment of people with disabilities? Of course, it is normal if you haven’t. Only a few hiring managers or recruiters do.

But it is time to change that mindset. Why should you be inclusive and support candidates with disabilities? How can you be supportive? So we’re going to answer all these questions in this post.

A look into people with disabilities

The discussions surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) frequently center on issues of race and gender. Yet your strategy must consider all forms of diversity if you want to create a varied workforce that offers equal chances. That also applies to those with disabilities.

Many things fall under the broad definition of “disability” provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) delineates 13 different disability categories, including the following:

  • Speech or language impairment
  • Visual impairment
  • Deafness
  • Hearing impairment
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Specific learning disability
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Intellectual disability
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Other health impairments (conditions that limit strength, energy, or alertness)
  • Multiple disabilities

Simply put, the range of infirmities is fairly broad. It’s important to remember that not all disabilities are apparent or visible to others.

If an applicant uses American Sign Language as their major mode of communication, for example, you can tell from their body language. Yet, other disabilities, such as mental health issues, are difficult to identify.

Learning impairments and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), recognized as disabilities, are commonly discussed in relation to neurodiversity.

Yet, there is much discussion and disagreement on whether neurodiversity, a word used to describe the differences in people’s brain processes and behaviors, should be considered a disability.

Awareness that some members of the neurodiversity community do not categorize their experiences as disability is crucial.

Why hire PWDs?

By actively seeking out individuals who have disabilities, you may establish a workforce that is more diverse and attract a larger talent pool.

The aim is to strengthen your team with the best early talent. However, given the continued labor shortages and tight job market, it’s challenging.

By not hiring people with disabilities, you could be passing up on very competent candidates. In 2022, the unemployment rate for those with disabilities will be 8.3%, significantly higher than the rate for those without impairments (3.1%).

Employing those with impairments demonstrates and supports an inclusive workplace. This promotes workplace empathy (a quality essential when dealing with clients and consumers) and can enhance how customers regard the business.

The degree to which inclusion affects employees’ attitudes toward their workplace is also essential. According to a Deloitte study, workers who felt valued and included in their workplace were 80% more likely to describe it as a high-performing firm.

Also, employing persons with disabilities communicates social responsibility and shows that the business is concerned about broader societal concerns that impact the community and its residents. However, encouraging an inclusive workplace goes beyond hiring.

Providing opportunities for leadership among employees with disabilities can enhance corporate culture from the top down.

One of the major consumer market sectors in the United States comprises people with disabilities. Representation at work is one of the finest strategies to reach this market niche. Individuals support businesses that can fulfill their demands.

Employing and promoting people with disabilities demonstrates that these customers and their families and friends are valued. This could improve their perception of the business and persuade them to become or stay devoted clients.

Tips to support disability inclusion in the workplace

Here are suggestions for overcoming perceived barriers and including disabled employees on your teams.

1. Put anti-discrimination and disability inclusion training into practice

Discrimination against people with impairments encompasses all forms. In addition to their disability, their race, sex, age, and demographics of the population are used as justifications for not hiring them.

Convenient justifications also include problems with mobility and even attractiveness. Once your hiring policy has been created, you must make anti-discrimination training, with an emphasis on disability, mandatory for all employees. Make sure it’s ongoing as well.

2. Conduct an extensive safety audit

Have an extensive safety audit performed on each work area inside your company.

People will require particular considerations depending on their impairment.

Determine which places are accessible to people with disabilities and alter the architecture in those not. For instance, install a ramp in the area of steps.

Look at the distances between the workstations; can a person in a wheelchair or using crutches fit there comfortably?

3. Invest in new furnishings, equipment, and software

Contrary to popular belief, it’s far simpler to make accommodations for a disabled employee.

When hiring a partially sighted worker, voice-to-text software and a larger computer screen are necessities. However, a typical workstation is all that is required for deaf employees, and they may communicate both internally and outside via chat and email.

A desk that can be adjusted in height and some more room around it may be needed for a worker who uses a wheelchair.

Overall, employees with disabilities can also benefit from a centralized database and HR solutions such as Hezum.

With Hezum, they can navigate the organizational map, request leaves, and even get onboarded independently and at their own pace.

Providing accommodations for employees with disabilities doesn’t have to be very expensive; frequently, common sense is all that is needed.

4. Prep your team

After a disabled applicant is hired, their disability must be disclosed to their work team. It’s not discrimination, though. It’s getting ready.

Staff members need to be trained in common sense manners. In extending a warm welcome to your new coworker, remember that they may have a disability.

They don’t want compassion, they don’t require special treatment, and they don’t require additional assistance. Like everyone else, they will ask for assistance if they need it.

To summarize

Millions of highly educated individuals with enormous potential are unemployed due to a disability. Many people have advanced degrees and would kill to have the chance to turn their knowledge into valuable talents.

Remember that a person’s mental capacity is unaffected by a physical impairment.

Employers can increase the diversity of their workforce by hiring disabled persons with little work and a few adjustments.

Utilizing a solution such as Hezum, for example, can streamline workplace operations for your business. This makes it more accessible to all your employees, with disabilities or none.

Want to learn more about our solutions? Visit our website today.

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