5 Strategies To Attract Job Seekers With Disabilities
In today’s job market, people with disabilities make up an unignorable share of the talent pool.
Paired with more progressive companies realizing the often untapped benefits that a diverse employee base has to offer, if you’re an employer then you need to consider how best to approach and engage with this amazing group of skilled professionals.
There are as many strategies to attract job seekers with disabilities as there are types of disabilities out there. Nevertheless, we’ve assembled 5 of the top ways to help you assemble a top-notch team that is disability-inclusive.
Let’s have a look!
1) Flexible Work-Life Balance
The world has seen, during the pandemic, just how many options are really available for flexible work accommodations. Telecommuting and work-from-home opportunities have become the new normal. And while business leaders have seen firsthand how this can help cut costs in areas such as office leasing and transportation costs, there’s more to it than that.
Offering flexible solutions to employment hurdles has a direct effect on attrition rates. Stanford University found as much as 50% reduced attrition rates in organizations that offered remote work opportunities. Coupled with the fact that many people with disabilities experience greater difficulty in navigating to and from a brick-and-mortar establishment for work, drafting these opportunities for new employees should be high on your list of strategies to improve your business’ appeal.
Flexible schedules are another plus in the eyes of those whose disability requires medical appointments on a regular basis, as well. Overall, flexibility can also show a greater sense of trust in your staff, which improves company culture and morale.
2) Connect with the Right Organizations
In the United States alone, there are 2.4 million students who identify as having a disability, and 3 out of 5 are unemployed (according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities). And, while many companies canvas colleges and universities for potential recruits, not all of them have the wherewithal to speak directly to the disability service centers at these institutions.
Knowing who to talk to not only helps you target the right people, but it helps put the word out that your company has a real focus on being disability-inclusive.
Outside of educational institutions, there are also a myriad of different support groups, resource services, and community centers that cater specifically to the interests of people with disabilities. These could be athletic centers, social clubs, or even just local meetups. Talk to the organizers to discover how your brand can fit in, and build an inroad to your business.
3) Celebrate and Show Support
Participating in public events that celebrate the accomplishments of people with disabilities, or which help raise awareness about disabilities, will give the public insight into what your company culture really looks like.
Your company’s name should be synonymous with support; help to champion causes like Autism Awareness Day, Mental Health Week, or MS Awareness Month, just to name a few. Some may be celebrated nationally, others more locally, but they will all improve your outreach substantially.
And if you’re willing to go the extra mile, consider sponsoring and/or hosting an event yourself!
4) Stay Up-to-Date on Social Media
Hopefully this is nothing new, but it is always worth reiterating how effective correctly leveraging social media is for any recruitment campaign.
4 in 5 job seekers use social media to look for work. And one thing we can say for certain is that social media is not a set-and-forget type of thing. In order to capitalize on the majority of job seekers, you’ll need to stay current on trends, and spread your reach across different platforms (including emerging ones).
Take time to explore what social groups and channels are being born in your industry, or in the community of people with disabilities, and cater to their interests. Keep your content fresh and engaging, and above all: relevant.
5) Apply Accessible Policies
When designing a Disability-Inclusive workplace, you need to review your physical building for accessibility issues. When designing a company’s operations and structure, you’ll need to do the same thing on a policy basis — assuming you want to appeal to the labor force of workers with disabilities.
Start by examining your internal processes for accessibility roadblocks. These could be employee guidelines or organizational decisions that do nothing to improve the comfort of people with disabilities, and offer them nothing in the way of professional development. Consider drafting a disability-focused Employee Resource Group, led by employees on a volunteer basis, to help inform you on ways to improve your policies to allow for inclusivity.
Next, apply the same logic to your hiring process. At every step of the way, from job postings to interviews to any contract negotiations, are you doing anything that is gatekeeping the opportunity from a person with a disability?
Do you offer accommodations for any testing procedures that a candidate may have to pass? Are you making any assumptions about who would be the “right” candidate, and are you broadcasting any sign that a person with a disability would not be seriously considered?
Once you’ve taken the time to go over your processes and start to network the right way, your company will be first in line when it comes to attracting and retaining one of the largest and most invaluable talent pools in the world today!