December 22, 2022
Read Time: 4 min.
Author: Tanya Lee, Disability Advocate and Freelance Writer
Editor: Stephanie Leffler, GourmetHR, LLC.
Employees with disabilities can be huge assets for any company. They tend to make for loyal, hard-working employees. As Business can confirm, businesses that hire them report higher incomes, have happier employees, enjoy reduced turnover rates, and can expect federal and state tax incentives besides.
Of course, finding skilled hires with disabilities is easier said than done. Just like with other employees, you will need to actively woo and later retain them. Furthermore, you will need to make certain accommodations for their special needs. Here, Gourmet HR offers key best practices for picking up hires with disabilities:
Revamp your recruitment processes
Your recruitment process, as it stands, likely isn’t designed for people with disabilities. You may need to modify it to make it more accessible. This includes everything from job advertising to the interview – and everything in between. Below are some critical considerations:
Job adverts: Consider placing job adverts in media channels in the disability niche. Furthermore, make your adverts and job listings more accessible – make them screen-reader friendly, use bigger fonts, include videos with subtitles, and use inclusive language.
Application process: Bear in mind that candidates with disabilities may have trouble with the application process, like filling out online forms. Offer alternatives when possible, such as accepting written applications, applications via representatives, and video applications.
Interview: Many candidates with disabilities have difficulties going for interviews due to anxiety or mobility issues. Again, consider offering special accommodations – like allowing phone or video interviews instead.
You can team up with Gourmet HR to create a tailored recruitment process. We also offer a host of HR-related services to help you find, manage, and retain employees with disabilities – and stay compliant with regulations.
Team up with organizations that work with people with disabilities
Partnering up with organizations that work with people with disabilities will both raise your profile as well as give you access to a qualified pool of candidates. Below are some examples of suitable organizations:
State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies
The local Center for Independent Living
Local colleges and universities
Ticket to Work (TTW) programs
State Apprenticeship Agencies
Create internship programs
Internship programs can be incredibly attractive for people with disabilities who are just starting out with their careers or looking to make a switch to a new industry, seeing as they receive an opportunity to receive hands-on training and learn some valuable skills at the same time.
Change up your company culture
Having a culture that respects and celebrates diversity will make any disabled candidates feel welcome. Furthermore, it can get your employees on board with your disability-hiring-related initiatives. Some suggestions are adjusting your company values to include diversity, including diversity messages and images in your branding, releasing educational content on disability, and communicating your intentions with employees.
Make reasonable accommodations for disabilities
You may need to adapt your workplace as well as work processes for your new employees. For instance, you could purchase screen readers for employees with eyesight problems and get extra-large desks for employees in wheelchairs. You could offer a more flexible schedule with remote work options. Some other examples are offering transportation, making structural accessibility modifications (entryways, lighting), allowing service animals, providing better seating, and more.
Sponsor them for online educational programs
Helping educate your new employees can be a win-win – not only will it make them happier, but your business will also benefit from any skills they might end up picking up. If you choose an online university program, you could save money, and your new employee would be able to learn at their own pace from home. Take a look at popular programs from accredited online universities.
Consider other incentives
You may have an employee incentive program already – you could modify it slightly for employees with disabilities, if necessary. Some popular, effective incentives you could offer are more paid holidays, coupons for food, wellness initiatives, peer-to-peer recognition programs, pet care day, performance awards, and more.
Read up on your obligations – like maintaining and managing employee records
You have obligations as an employer, as you’re doubtless aware. Reading up on what’s expected of you can help you stay compliant and avoid litigation. For instance, maintaining employee records is a key requirement. In the case of your employees with disabilities, this includes medical records. You need to maintain them separately from personnel records, in line with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Developing an electronic or paper system for your records can make managing them easier.
Hiring people with disabilities will require some extra planning, effort, and financial investment from your end. The rewards will be more than worthwhile, though – you will receive talented employees who stay longer, bolster your company culture, and benefit your bottom line.
Gourmet HR offers a host of human resources services, including recruiting,
handbooks, training manuals, audit compliance, employee relations, benefits, and more.
We also offer conflict resolution services such as mediation, coaching, and facilitation.
Tanya’s inspiration for starting AbilityVillage came from her younger brother, Charlie.
Charlie has cerebral palsy, and she’s watched him overcome immense obstacles his
whole life. While his cognitive abilities aren’t affected by his CP, his physical abilities
are. She’s seen through his experiences how different the world can be for those who
are differently abled, and she hopes that through this site, she’ll be able to encourage
others to make their communities more accessible to every citizen.