How to Attract Disabled People to Your Company

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Last time we covered the subject of incorporating disabled people into your company’s staff, we mostly focused on the numerous benefits these candidates could bring to the table. This entry, however, will be focused on the how rather than the why.

Hopefully, our last article encouraged you to take a chance and give disabled people an opportunity, but maybe you’re not sure about how to attract this group of workers and bring them into your staff. Here are the five steps you should follow to help you get started:

1. Creating an inclusive and accessible job environment: To accommodate disabled people into your staff, you first need to make a few changes to your facilities. This is one of the issues that most recruiters and executives dread when considering hiring disabled people. Why? Because they believe in a common misconception that adapting the work space to fit the needs of disabled workers will cost them a hefty amount of money, when, in fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

According to a study conducted by the UN, the average cost of adapting a workplace to accommodate people with mobility impairment is less than $500, which for most companies is basically pocket change. In most cases, it just takes setting a few ramps here and there and installing text-to-speech software on some devices to make sure that every member of your staff can work to their maximum potential.

There’s also the matter of your already existing staff. However progressive our society may be, there are still people that will treat the disabled with contempt and prejudice. If you feel your staff is not ready for this kind of change, we recommend a swift attitude adjustment. There are plenty of sensitivity programs made available by government offices and non-profit organizations that specialize in educating people and helping them understand the difficulties that disabled people face everyday and to empathize with them in the correct way.

2. Changing the way you advertise your job opportunities: The way we say things can sometimes be discriminatory towards certain people, even if we don’t mean it or realize it. Taking a close look at the way you write your job ads can help you see if your using certain words or phrases that may be less than inviting to people with disabilities.

The very first thing you need to look out for is the type of language you use. Avoid using pejorative or discriminating words such as “handicapped”, “crippled”, or “retarded.” Needless to say, you should focus on making your job ads inclusive and inviting rather than singling out disabled people as if you were offering some kind of pity job.

A very common mistake in this matter is to give importance to certain skills that aren’t really that necessary to the job, i.e. asking applicants to have a valid driver’s license when, in fact, driving a vehicle isn’t really a crucial part of the job.

Other mistakes many recruiters make are more related to accessibility issues. Blind people, for example, rely on text-to-speech software to use a computer; so, when a job ad is in the format of an image or without any text, the software can’t recognize or understand it, therefore, they are unable to read it. It’s okay to use images to make your job ads look more appealing, but try to always have the important text in a format that any software can understand.

3. Reach out to disability-related organizations: There are plenty of non-profit organizations and advocacy groups that are dedicated to helping people with disabilities find a job. Working hand in hand with them is a wonderful way for you to reach that workforce as they already possess the contacts and information you need to get in touch with potential candidates.

Try advertising on websites, job boards, and in magazines, or even more traditional formats that are specifically directed towards people with disabilities looking for employment. There are also specialized job fairs and events directed to help people with all sorts of disabilities to find a job.

4. Create and promote a diversity and inclusion policy: Make people know that you wish to be ahead of the curve and that you are looking to transform your company into a workplace where any type of person can feel welcome and appreciated. Make sure to get the word out by being forward with this policy. Refer to it on your website and all job postings.

5. Make sure the selection and interviewing processes are fair: If you are encouraging people with disabilities to join your company, you need to make sure that all stages of your selection process are fair and accessible to them.

If you wish to implement a written test, make sure that you provide special formats for people with visual disabilities such as tests written in Braille or, instead, focusing on the oral interview. The same goes for people with hearing disabilities, hiring an American Sign Language (ASL) translator isn’t that hard if you know where to look for one.

It may seem like an uphill endeavor, but hiring disabled people doesn’t need to be hard. It’s just a simple matter of preparing yourself and your company to handle this task. If you reach out to the right places to let them know that you’re looking for them, they will come to you.

Edu Rojas / NEUVOO
Content Marketing Editor