Many organizations are actively working to have an inclusive recruitment process, including hiring people with disabilities. According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of people with disabilities entering the workforce is rising. However, many organizations fall short when hiring job seekers with disabilities and miss out on a unique and talented candidate pool.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, in 2020, 29.1% of the working-age population of people with disabilities were currently employed compared to 70% of the working-age population of people without a disability. To attract candidates with disabilities, employers must invest the time and resources into developing a solid and inclusive recruitment strategy.
A study by the National Organization on Disability found that only 13% of companies have reached the U.S. Department of Labor’s target of 7% disability representation. According to a study conducted by Accenture, Disability:IN, and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), companies with well-developed disability-inclusion hiring practices had better financial performances than their peers.
The Accenture white paper also found that companies that successfully incorporated candidates with disabilities into their workforce have seen 28% higher revenues and 2x the net income. A study on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities found that companies with employees with disabilities have experienced reduced turnover, increased productivity, and lower recruiting costs, among other benefits.
People with disabilities are dedicated employees that can become reliable, long-term employees. They can also provide organizations a unique perspective on advertising, product development, and more. According to Disability Solutions, businesses that have hired people with disabilities have seen positive results, including a 14% higher retention rate and a 33% decrease in interview-to-hire ratios.
Despite the research showing that hiring people with disabilities has tremendous benefits to organizations, many employers don’t know where to start when recruiting people with disabilities.
One way to attract individuals with disabilities is by creating an inclusive environment with accessible facilities and services. An accessible workplace is essential, such as making sure people can use wheelchairs and digital tools to perform their jobs. For an organization to meet its inclusion goals, it must prioritize accessibility and accommodation. When a company focuses on creating an inclusive workplace, it can create a more diverse workforce that can boost productivity, reduce turnover, and create a better brand image.
Inclusive company culture means one where employees feel respected and valued. Organizations should encourage a culture of transparency, where employees with disabilities can be comfortable expressing themselves, sharing feedback, and seeking help. On the other hand, managers should be appropriately trained so they can address employees’ varying needs.
A strong employer brand is also crucial in attracting a wide array of candidates. A LinkedIn report found that 75% of job seekers place importance on an employer’s brand when considering whether to apply for a job or not. Therefore, companies looking to hire people with disabilities should focus on creating an employer brand that prioritizes inclusiveness.
This can include using specific language that indicates that they are a disability-inclusive employer. When an organization is known as an equal opportunity employer, it means that they care about their employees regardless of background or abilities. Therefore, this will make them more attractive to various groups and become an employer of choice for individuals with disabilities.
A job description that highlights accessible features can help attract candidates with disabilities. In addition to salary information or job duties, candidates are also looking for information on other benefits such as flexible work hours, proximity to public transportation, work-from-home options, or other inclusive features.
Part of having an inclusive culture is ensuring every step of the hiring process is considerate of candidates with various backgrounds and abilities. Employers should inform applicants that accommodations for interviews can be provided when requested. When an individual with a disability feels listened to and included during the interview process and had an overall great experience, they will have a positive impression of the employer. This can help increase the chances of them wanting to work for the company.
One of the biggest challenges that recruiters face when hiring people with disabilities is identifying candidates. Companies can attract candidates with disabilities by working or partnering with groups that support people with disabilities. This can help build credibility and increase trust in the organization.
Companies can partner with local organizations to host events to support individuals with disabilities. They can also ask their employees to volunteer and help with the event. Hosting these events would allow individuals with disabilities to speak with other people in similar situations and share their stories.
Employers should focus on building authentic connections and ensuring any interaction is genuine and not just to fill a quota. Companies can host inclusive hiring events or job fairs that provide opportunities for people with disabilities to meet local recruiters, learn about job opportunities, and gain knowledge on how to get a job. These hiring events can help connect job seekers with disabilities to employers.
For organizations to have an inclusive recruitment process, they need to consider hiring candidates with disabilities. The first step is to create a recruitment strategy aimed at directly appealing to candidates with disabilities. This can include partnering with disability-focused organizations and promoting an inclusive culture.
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