The landmark legislation, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 and outlawed discrimination against individuals with disabilities in public life. As hiring becomes more competitive HR managers are turning to untapped groups of job candidates. This includes people with disabilities. It makes sense that you would do whatever you can to accommodate and attract all kinds of employees. But how do you do that exactly?
Recruiting People with Disabilities
10.7 million disabled people in the U.S. are unemployed. Many of them express frustration when applying for a job. Since the majority of jobs are posted and applied for online, this means a career site. Is your career site fully accessible? It should
- Be compatible with a screen reader
- Have plain, simple language
- Have an option to override any timed sections
- Make visuals accessible, for example having a written description of any images
Can your hiring process be changed or altered to accommodate a person with disabilities? Accommodating people with disabilities happens at every stage of the hiring process. It doesn’t stop at your career site, it extends to the interview process as well. For example, if the interviewee is deaf have an interpreter on hand if needed. And make sure you speak directly to the interviewee and not the interpreter. Did you know that the ADA prohibits certain questions in a job interview? These questions include:
- What happened to you?
- How will you get to work?
- What accommodations will you need?
- How many sick days have you taken/will you take?
Recruiting people with disabilities can be as simple as having a flexible work schedule or the option of working remotely. These things might seem like a perk to an able-bodied person but can make the difference of taking a job or not to a disabled person.
The U.S Department of Labor has several resources and incentive programs to help employers reach and hire people with disabilities. The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) helps employers with strategies on how to hire, retain and advance employees with disabilities. Best of all, it’s free. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offers free advice on workplace accommodations. These are just a few of the resources that are available to help employers improve diversity.
Is Your Company Culture Welcoming to Disabled People?
Does your company culture reflect inclusivity? Just hiring a disabled person isn’t enough. You have to make sure you’re company policies and company culture are welcoming to everyone. This includes access to both physical and digital spaces. For example, if you’re planning a team-building exercise, plan the activity with everyone in mind.
You can create an employee resource group for employees with disabilities. You can feature pictures on your company website. This will go a long way to inform people of your inclusivity and attract other disabled job candidates.
Inclusive company culture dovetails into other areas. You can provide additional training and education. Inclusivity doesn’t start and stop with hiring people with visible disabilities. Being aware of the needs of your employees is a constant process that should be refined and molded as new people enter your business. Most importantly, you should lead by example. If your employees see that the leadership values people for their skills and talent, then they will too.