How To Make Progress In Hiring People With Disabilities
Again, accessibility is everyones job. Every department will need its own processes for accessibility. This includes human resources. First, know that it will take time to create a more accessible job application process. Think progress over perfection.
Also, its important to know that hiring disabled people is only half of the DEI equation. The other half and equally important is to create a culture of inclusion to ensure everyone has the tools to do their best work.
Benefits Of Hiring People With Disabilities
Hiring people with disabilities isnt always top of mind for hiring managers. Unfortunately, this mindset hurts both the workers and companies as they miss out on highly skilled and dedicated employees.
Expanded Applicant Pool
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , there are 61 million American adults with a disability. These potential applicants make up 26% of the adult workforce, a sizable amount no business would want to exclude.
During the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the unemployment rate for workers with disabilities was significantly higher than that of other workers . Whether youre specifically looking to hire workers with disabilities or youve simply come across more disabled applicants recently, this could be a reason, as more disabled workers look to return to the workforce.
Its Good for Business
Not only is hiring workers with disabilities the right thing to do, but it can be good business. A widely cited study from Accenture found that companies leading in practices and initiatives specific to hiring and supporting workers with disabilities outperformed their peers. These Disability Inclusion Champions had 28% higher revenue and 30% higher profit margin, along with increased productivity and innovation.
It Adds to Your Company Diversity
It Increases Employee Engagement
Get Government Contracts
Continue To Make Progress With The Hiring Process
These little things communicate that your company wants to be accommodating and flexible for everyone. This is how you show people with disabilities are a part of your diversity, equity, and inclusion .
After doing these things, continue to make progress in building a more accessible hiring process. Every step, big or small, matters.
It helps if the company has someone in the role of Director of Accessibility or something along these lines. This person can be a resource for all the departments. They work with each department to determine the next steps for building a more accessible workplace.
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How Accessibility Benefits More Than Those With Disabilities
This image from Arbetsförmedlingen.se is based on the one in the Microsoft Inclusive Design Toolkit. It shows how people benefit from accessibility for some of the senses.
Some disabled people complained about this image. They believe it equates a situational or temporary impairment with a permanent disability. Not at all. Its showing the possibilities of how each persona could be affected.
Be In Compliance With The Federal Requirements For Contractors
Regulations in Section 503 under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require federal contractors, as well as subcontractors, to make proactive efforts to retain and hire disabled workers. Therefore, for companies who do business with the government or would like to deal with the federal government in the near future, having a disability-inclusive policy can help them comply with legal requirements.
Start hiring skilled disabled workers today. As an employer, you can publish your job offers on MyDisabilityJobs.
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Work For People With Disabilities
We vote with our dollars. When you buy something, you arent just saying that you like or need the product. You are also saying you support their corporate philosophy and what they do as a company.
As parents raising disabled children, we need to band together and vote with our dollars, to create opportunities for our kids. The statistics have not changed much. My disabled child is facing the same employment opportunities as his disabled adult peers from the 1970s.
Intentful Communication Is Everything In A Work Environment
October is Disability Employment Awareness Month . To help spread awareness, CBC Calgary is highlighting stories from self-advocates and inclusive employers. Learn more at cbc.ca/mycalgary.
This is an email interview with Holly Singer, who owns the Milk Jar Candle Company, where 25 per cent of the office consists of people with disabilities. Through candle sales, she has donated more than $156,000 to organizations that support youth with disabilities in Alberta.
Why is it important to hire people with disabilities?
Everyone has the right to work, provide for themselves and be a supporting member of society and their community. As a business owner, I believe it is our human duty and responsibility to offer employment opportunities to diverse groups of people, and especially to include people who are not commonly considered for positions, as this lifts up our community to be healthier and happier.
What benefits have you seen by hiring people with disabilities?
Employee retention is higher among our disabled employees, and since becoming an inclusive workplace, we have seen an increase in employee retention among all of our staff members. They share, they have more purpose working for a company that cares more about developing people than just sales and profits.
Positive work culture
Since becoming an inclusive workplace, we have seen an increase in employee retention among all of our staff members.- Holly Singer
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Ways To Hire More People With Disabilities
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month , which is designed to encourage organizations to become more diverse by including people with disabilities and their hiring, as well as educate the workforce about the challenges these employees face. NDEAM was enacted in 1945 with the Congressional passage of Public Law 176, which declared the first week of October as National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. In 1962, the name was changed to the National Employ the Handicapped Week to recognize the fact that people with non-physical disabilities also deserve to be included in these workplace education efforts. Then in 1988, the week was extended to a month and again renamed.
People with disabilities in the workplace have definitely come a long way since 1945. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2021, the unemployment rate for this talent was 10.1 percentâa 2.5 percent decrease from 2020. However, this was still much higher than the rest of the population, as people with disabilities were twice as likely to be unemployed than those without.
But you can help change thatâand this month is an excellent time to start. After all, you’re already working on your DEIB hiring, so to increase the diversity and inclusivity of your workplace, it’s a good idea to explore ways to hire more people with disabilities. The following are strategies to help you do it.
Anyone Can Become Disabled Or Impaired
People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the world. And anyone can join this group at any time. In fact, the longer people live, the greater the likelihood they will have a disability at some point in their lives.
Additionally, someone can experience a temporary, situational, or episodic impairment at any time. When I tore a ligament in my thumb, I had to change how I interacted with the world: digitally and non-digitally. This is when I first tried speech-to-text software and it was a disaster! All I got out of it was a hilarious blog post.
Besides, we all experience cognitive impairment every day. All it takes is one sleepless night, a stressful situation, a meal that didnt agree, or a distracting environment to affect our cognitive functions. This makes it harder for us to absorb any inputs. Thats why all content should be in plain language.
A study showed the more educated people are, the greater the preference for plain language. We are inundated with so much information. Plain language helps us understand the message on the first read without straining.
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Companies That Hire Disabled People
Heres the short list, with more explanation further down.
In 2014, I did a book review of No Greatness Without Goodness. Its a phenomenal book and a heartwarming story about one mans mission to create a community and create real life, fair paying employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
I cant recommend the book enough. If you are looking for a holiday gift idea for any special needs family or any business person who has the access to change lives like this, get them this book!
You can watch his TedX Talk here.
But first, lets get REAL about the abysmal statistics about employment and people with disabilities:
Only one-third of working-age people with disabilities were employed on average in the 2010-2012 period, compared to over two-thirds of people without disabilities.
That statistic is from our very own US Department of Labor. I should probably clarify for those who have not read the book. In the book, Randy talks about hiring people with disabilities at his Distribution Centers, at rates of upwards of 40%. Unheard of!
He talks about all the accommodations and little things that they did, to make it work for folks. All the obstacles and getting the buy-in. And in the end, it makes financial sense too.
Do Employers Get Incentives For Hiring Disabled People
The IRS provides incentives for hiring people with disabilities. Organizations that make an effort to hire disadvantaged workers who would otherwise have trouble finding employment could save money via Work Opportunity Tax Credits and additional financial incentives.
Programs like social security in the United States provide supplemental income to people who cannot work due to temporary or permanent disabilities. These benefits make it possible for people to continue familiar lifestyles, even under unexpected circumstances. Programs like this are important, but its also vital that employers offer accessible job opportunities to those who have a disability but are able to work.
These companies demonstrate how disabled people are assets to the workforce. They have made it possible for them to participate fully in their positions along with colleagues. Whether you are a disabled person looking for work or just want to filter your job search so it focuses on companies that include everyone, this list is a good starting point.
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Best Practices For Supported Employment
The following are best practices in supported employment services:
- Design all processes, strategies, or philosophies to promote greater workforce inclusion, personal choice, and independence for persons with disabilities.
- Do not allow processes, strategies, or philosophies to interfere with building personal capacity or reducing poverty for persons with disabilities.
- Make sure that any interventions are the least intrusive, most respectful, and most effective ones available.
- Strive to maintain or improve service standards.
- Conduct assessment and planning that reflects person-centred support, choice, and self-determination.
- Foster career goals within the context of the individuals lifestyle, non-work priorities, goals, and commitments.
Ideally, employers should conduct the same training and orientation as for all new employees, with consultations with the service provider to increase success. Sometimes the service provider may need to enter the workplace to help with training. This should take place in a way that encourages connection and inclusion of the new employees, rather than segregating them from their co-workers.
How Can You Get A Job With A Disability
There are several ways you can find jobs for disabled work from home. You can search for jobs in old fashioned ways.
Ask friends and relatives for leads. Search want ads. Check bulletin boards in offices and community organizations you frequent. Seek job ideas through employment agencies.
Find out if there are businesses and groups in your area that hire people with physical challenges. Dont be too proud to make use of these avenues.
After you get your foot in the door, you can prove to your new employer that your physical challenge is no block to your excellent work ethic and productivity.
We, seniors, have some unique opportunities. We can avail ourselves of both at-home and in-business jobs aimed at seniors.
You can also seek jobs for disabled seniors through seniors organizations in your community or an online link or chat room.
Make use of the Internet in your search. Look for opportunities for work at home for disabled. Theres a whole world of jobs out there all around the world.
All you need is a computer and an Internet connection! I work for people in India, Pakistan, Australia, Great Britain, the USA, Canada, and the Philippines and I do all this from home.
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Creating More Accessible Communications
In creating an objective hiring process, be aware that a phone call is not free of bias. Peoples accents and use of language will give them away. Some people dont speak or have speech disabilities.
When conducting interviews through video calls, make sure all the interviewers are on camera. If someone must be off-camera due to health reasons or a disability, then they need to be willing to enter their questions and comments in the chat box.
Automatic captions dont always get things right. Its harder to catch people who are not on camera. As a lipreader dependent on captions, I struggle with off-camera conversations. Its because I have to depend on the captions alone with no backup.
The Role Of Employment Counsellors
Educating employers reduces the perceived barriers that prevent them from hiring people with disabilities. As an employment counsellor, you can make employers aware of:
- The advantages of hiring people with disabilities
- Up-to-date information about the nature of disabilities
- Up-to-date information about technology and aids to assist people with disabilities
- Information about barrier-free design
- Information about programs that help integrate workers with physical disabilities into the workforce
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Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan
When it comes to hiring, Blue Cross does not view disabilities as a persons identity. They offer plenty of jobs for people with disabilities. Besides, the company provides information to educate employees and business leaders on the best ways to interact with people with disabilities.
- Job titles available: Support Clerk, Case Manager, Claims Clerk
- Pay: Claims Clerk, $44,033/year
- Benefits: Performance Bonus, Family Medical Leave, Vacation & Paid Time Off, Dental Insurance, Mobile Phone Discount, 401K Plan.
- Where to apply: Join Blue Cross
It Makes Business Sense
Were no strangers to using business as a platform for change. The inclusion of people with disabilities in your workforce is a wise business move. A 2018 study by Accenture, in partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability:IN, found that businesses that actively seek to employ people with disabilities outperform their peers. Those more inclusive firms reported 28% higher revenue, two times greater net income, and 30% higher profit margins.
Luckily, there is data to back up claims regarding the impact that inclusion has on brand loyalty. According to a U.S. Department of Labor survey, 90% of consumers specifically agreed that they would prefer to give their business to companies that hire individuals with disabilities.
- Drawing on this wisdom from the disability justice movement: Nothing about us without us. This principle should guide your business practices. If you hope people with disabilities might be customers of yours, you need us at all levels of the company. –Brandon Melnyk, Mentor of Specialized Skill Building, MOKA
- As a customer, I view the company I am shopping at more favorably if there is truly equal opportunity employment. –Roshel Stafford, Therapist at Counseling Center of West Michigan
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Hiring People With Disabilities: Recruiting With Aoda Accessibility In Mind
Although the deadlines for AODA compliance have passed, your company may not be hiring people with disabilities because you are unaware of how best to recruit from this demographic.
Ontarios Accessibility Standard for Employment is a key portion of the Ontario governments plan to make Ontario an accessible province by 2025. After all, about one in seven people in Ontario has a disability. If you are in charge of recruiting and hiring, seek to make the process as welcoming as possible to Ontarians with a disability. Hiring people with disabilities allows your company to tap into a diverse range of options to fill your open positions.
Use Inclusive Interview Tactics
Effectively interviewing people with disabilities goes further than just the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You’re already well aware that you’re not supposed to ask questions about the nature of people’s health conditions during interviews, and youâre required to provide accommodations when candidates ask for them.
However, inclusivity in interviewing requires more than that. One way you can make the experience more inclusive is by paying close attention to the language you use during interviews. In our day-to-day vernacular, sometimes ablest language may inadvertently creep out even when you donât intend it to. People may say words like âblindâ, âdumb,â âidiot,â âinsane,â and âcrazy,â all the time without realizing theyâre using harmful language. As a result, it’s important to be mindful of the words you’re using during interviews so you don’t give the impression the work environment isnât inclusive.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month is putting the needs of people with disabilities top of mind in the workplace. However, when it comes to DEIB hiring, creating inclusivity in your workplace so you can attract more of these employees is always a smart move. These tips can help you incorporate hiring practices that make it easier to attract this talent.
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