Equal-opportunity employers in the USA should be aware of the sheer number of disabled workers looking for jobs. They need to understand that by omitting these potential employees from the recruitment process, they’re limiting their choices to a much smaller talent pool.
Think about it. If you’re looking for a particular set of skills, it’s easier to find the right person when you’ve got a larger group to choose from. Besides finding great employees, hiring disabled workers will help boost your company’s image as well.
But how can you attract and retain disabled employees? Here are a few tips:
Ultimately, the choice of whether to disclose your disability or not is entirely up to you. Nevertheless, if you do decide to disclose your disability at the workplace, these tips may help:
There is much guidance, support, and training from government resources to help a disabled person find employment. While government-backed schemes are generating jobs for people with disabilities, there are also awareness-raising initiatives being conducted to break stereotypes and to ensure that everyone is given an equal chance to work regardless of his/her disability.
Here is how to approach the job search if you have disability:
Before you start hiring, consider the aspects of your business and figure out which roles could be fulfilled by disabled workers. These employees may require particular accommodations in order to complete their tasks.
After understanding the various roles in your business, you can decide which ones can have accommodations for disabled workers and which roles can only be performed by able-bodied employees. Once you figure this out, you’ll know how many employees with disabilities your business could hire, and what accommodations would be necessary.
If you have an online application form, it should be provided in several different formats so that people with various types of disabilities can access and fill it out with ease.
For example, candidates could be allowed to speak into their computer microphones to fill out a form, as some may not be able to type.
Also, you need to ensure that the building where you conduct interviews is easily accessible to disabled candidates (wheelchair ramps, etc.). The hiring managers conducting the interviews need to understand the nuances of speaking with disabled workers. All these factors will give potential employees the confidence to apply to your company without the fear of rejection or discomfort.
To make the recruitment process easier, try partnering with organizations that have extensive experience with hiring disabled workers.
SourceAmerica, a nonprofit based in Washington DC, partners with businesses to help create employment opportunities for disabled workers. Organizations like this are well-versed with hiring disabled workers, and they can help guide your business through the process. They might also have a large database of disabled candidates listed with their qualifications, making it easier for you to find the right hire for your company.
When you’re hiring candidates, remember that there’s a clear difference between the various types of disabilities. Before you consider giving someone a job, take the time to understand what their needs and limitations are, if any.
For example, an employee in a wheelchair will need specific physical accommodations in the offce, while someone with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) would require clear instructions and perhaps a little more supervision.
If you see any of your employees talking loudly to a blind worker or leaning on someone’s wheelchair, it’s clear that they don’t know how to behave around disabled employees. This is probably because they have never worked around anyone with a disability.
You need to bring your employees up to speed, and maybe invest in some diversity training so that they will understand what is appropriate in the workplace.