While the US is the largest economy in the world with some of the lowest unemployment levels, 34% of people with disabilities are looking for work. Whereas companies like JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, and Walgreen have created recruitment programs for people with disabilities, the industry needs a collaborative effort to make their hiring practices disability-friendly. There is a strong need to translate diversity and inclusion plans into actual hires. For the transformation to work, the D&I policies have to be supervised by dedicated committees who genuinely feel about inclusion and have active representation from different communities.

According to a white paper by Accenture on accessibility, companies have marked 28% higher revenue by incorporating disabled candidates. Many organizations, non-profits, a network of companies, and government agencies aiding people with disabilities have experienced reduced turnover, productivity boost, and better customer outreach. So, what should your firm do if it wants to make its hiring practices disability-friendly, in this article we present 4 effective ways to implement this transformation.

1) Partner with Non-profits and Diverse Associations

Employers should partner with non-profits and diverse associations that work for people with disabilities. They should share their job openings with these organizations as well as distribute flyers in local schools and colleges. A small diversity recruitment team can be set up internally to prepare a passive pipeline of resources belonging to different communities. Apart from partnering with non-profits, employers can also partner with state employment agencies and meet-up groups for people with disabilities. These are some of the organizations that you can partner with.

  • Ability Jobs and Job Access
  • Disabled Person
  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
  • The Arc etc.

2) Implementing Disability-Friendly Hiring Policies
A good way to improve your hiring practices is by taking the feedback of people with disabilities. Make sure your career pages and website have the right feel. Your job descriptions should be inclusive, the interview process should be flexible (face-to-face, remote, etc.), the customer support numbers should be working, and your social media pages should market a diversity-friendly employer brand. While employers should take care of these facets, the workforce too should be sensitized through trainings. These are some of the practices that you should implement in your hiring cycle.

  • Implement Blind Hiring
  • Use the same interview-set for every candidate
  • Have more minority representation in the hiring team
  • Use diverse sourcing channels

3) Training Your Workforce Is the Key

Staff training is one of the critical aspects of inclusivity that shouldn’t be ignored. Inclusive hiring strategies and processes require proper training of the staff on EEO, anti-discrimination, cultural-awareness, and bias-free hiring. The recruitment team should also be trained on innovative sourcing channels for diversity hiring. It’s also the responsibility of every employer to have an annual diversity plan in place which includes the different diversity trainings that the staff should take. These are some of the initiatives that you should implement.

  • Hire a certified trainer to educate leadership on cultural-awareness
  • Conduct bias-free recruitment sessions for managers, recruiters, and SMEs
  • Create an employee handbook that details the company’s stand on discrimination, harassment, EEO, etc.
  • Organize training for employees on respect & inclusion, unconscious bias, anti-discrimination, etc.
  • Organize role-play scenarios for HR that demonstrate how to deal with sensitive situations

4) Partner with an External Agency
There are many agencies that help firms in planning their diversity recruitment strategies. From creating annual goals, assigning the right roles and responsibilities to partnering with diverse associations, these firms help you optimize your hiring strategy. Since these firms have worked with many clients before they can help you get access to local recruiter networks for diverse hiring. These agencies also train your recruitment team on innovative sourcing strategies and 360-degree engagement cycle which helps you prepare a solid pipeline of qualified resources.

Making your hiring practices disability-friendly is easier said than done, that is why you require a dedicated plan and passionate people who are willing to change the outlook. Innovation in sourcing and collaboration among stakeholders are going to be your biggest assets on this journey, so make sure that your company’s vision is aligned with the roles and responsibilities of the workforce.

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