According to Ted James, a contributor to this series:
When you set out to hire new talent for your team, you need the most skilled professionals to fill the role. It could be the case that the right person for the job is someone with disabilities. To make sure that you aren’t overlooking candidates who might be a perfect fit, it is important to prioritize inclusivity and accessibility during your hiring campaign and throughout the company as a whole. Today, I outline how to attract new hires with a range of talents that can strengthen your business.
Establish a Budget for Reasonable Accommodations
The first step to building an inclusive workplace is to make reasonable accommodations for the staff that might come to join your team. Citizens Advice notes that The Equality Act defines reasonable accommodation as a change in the work environment that will provide a person with a disability a fair chance to get the job and perform their duties well.
One idea for creating an accommodating work environment is to install ramps and renovate the space to be wheelchair accessible. Many people, such as those with service dogs or vision impairments, will similarly benefit from walkability at your place of business, especially if you’re in an area with a high Walk Score.
However, as the Ontario Human Rights Commission points out, there are some accommodation considerations that can continue to be costly over time and may even present an undue hardship for an employer. This might include maintaining software to remain accessible or hiring sign language interpreters during important events. It is therefore important to plan for an inclusivity budget before proceeding too far into the hiring process.
Improve Website Accessibility
Creating an accessible website should be high on your to-do list. Your business’s website will likely be the first point of contact for many of your would-be employees. Certain interested parties might rely on assistive screen readers to view pages on your site, so it is vital that your domain is compatible with such technologies. Other accessibility accommodations you can make to your website include:
- Using color blind friendly palettes
- Including useful alt text for images
- Designing pages to be interactable with a keyboard alone
Create Inclusive Internship Opportunities
Internships can be life-changing opportunities that help students and new workers find their paths. An inclusive internship program can be mutually beneficial to people with disabilities who are looking for ideal opportunities, as well as to companies that are building towards a more diverse future.
Nurturing talented individuals through an internship can lead to long-term employees that will help the company grow and thrive. It starts with reaching the right audience, which might only be possible by expanding your network and tapping into advocacy organizations that help disabled people find work. Over the course of your internship program, track data and results that can be used later for improving inclusivity in other areas.
Have a Hiring Plan In Place for Those On the Spectrum
For those with autism, a strategy should be employed with their needs in mind when you’re in the hiring process. During the interview, for example, it’s advisable to not focus on eye contact, tone of voice, or atypical movements; that’s part of the condition, after all. Instead, concentrate on what the applicant is actually able to perform in their job function.
Also keep in mind the type of environment the applicant may be working in, if hired, and clearly communicate how the place runs. A busy office that’s filled with noises like shuffling papers, ringing phones, and clicking keyboards isn’t ideal for autistic workers. Bright fluorescent lights are usually a big no-no, too, as many on the spectrum are very sensitive to poor lighting conditions.
Take Care of Housekeeping Before Finalizing Hires
Business owners who are initializing a recruitment campaign for the first time need to be aware of some important housekeeping tasks. For example, a business must be fully established and registered in order to meet tax compliance. It is necessary to be registered with the government when onboarding new staff. It’s also critical that employers ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws. Know what types of questions you can and can’t ask your prospects, and what sort of information gleaned from background checks is allowed to weigh into your decision.
As a final consideration, think about how to collect employee feedback from your new hires. Something as simple as sending out employee surveys can help you understand how your inclusivity efforts are being received and what can still change for the better.
When you make positive changes for inclusivity, your company will convey an accommodating personality. Your efforts can shine through your hiring campaign and attract a variety of professionals that could become a vital part of a growing business.
5KeyPartners works with entrepreneurs to develop Marketing plans for business growth. Questions? Comments? Please email email@example.com.
Sources: Ted James a contributor to this Blog series