Inclusive Hiring: What Employers Can Do to Attract New Hires With Disabilities

A man shaking hands with his employee

Finding and hiring the best talent is essential to the success of any organization. Today, the workforce is more diverse than ever before, and businesses need to create an inclusive environment to attract and retain top talent, including those with disabilities. Here are some strategies employers can use to create an inclusive recruitment and hiring process that accommodates people with disabilities and ensures they are qualified for the job.

Use inclusive language in job descriptions. Companies need to use inclusive language in all communications and materials that describe job opportunities, including the language used in job descriptions. Using inclusive language means avoiding words or phrases that may discriminate or marginalize someone.

For example, use phrases that focus on a person’s ability to do the job, like “qualified candidate” instead of “able-bodied candidate.” Also, use person-first language, such as “person with a disability” instead of “disabled person.” Using inclusive language shows that an organization is committed to creating an equitable and diverse environment for everyone.

Create a more inclusive culture. Employers also need to promote a culture of inclusion within the organization, which includes ongoing diversity training for all staff members. This may include mandatory online courses or in-person workshops, and it should cover all areas of diversity, including disability, race, gender and sexual orientation. Additionally, by encouraging employees to highlight their unique skills and talents, employers can build a culture of respect and appreciation for all their employees.

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Establish career growth opportunities. Companies can support employees with disabilities by establishing career-planning opportunities. These opportunities can help individuals identify career goals and create a plan to reach them. Mentorship programs, training opportunities or job-shadowing programs are a few examples of such opportunities.

Offer internship programs. Internship programs can be a great way to attract prospective employees with disabilities since they offer an opportunity to work with potential hires firsthand. For college students with disabilities, internships can also be a valuable way to gain work experience and be evaluated on critical job skills. Internships allow employers to assess candidates’ strengths in areas like work ethic, communication skill, and job performance before committing to a long-term hire.

Offer educational funding as an incentive. Offering continuing education funding as an incentive to an online university program can be a powerful tool to motivate individuals to pursue higher education. By providing funding, individuals may be more willing to invest the time and effort needed to complete their degrees while also giving them the opportunity to advance their careers. Additionally, providing funding can demonstrate an organization’s commitment to its employees’ professional development, which can also lead to increased loyalty and retention.

Creating an inclusive environment that accommodates people with disabilities goes beyond complying with legislative requirements. Businesses can thrive by employing people with diverse experiences and perspectives. Employers who take an active approach to fostering inclusivity during the recruitment process, creating a more inclusive culture and offering incentives or funding opportunities that support continuing education demonstrate that they embrace diversity and make a positive contribution to the community at large.

Virginia Cooper
Virginia Cooper is a retired community college instructor. She can be reached at vc (at) learnaliving (dot) co.

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