Recruiters and employers are increasingly aware of making jobs and workplaces available to all. And, while disabled people are just as hard-working and productive as non-disabled people, their employment rate is 28.8% lower.
Therefore, recruiters and employers must work harder than ever to amend their work policies and cater job roles towards disabled people to attract more talented candidates.
Disability in the workplace
According to Citrus HR, “the legal definition of a workplace disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on [a person’s] ability to do normal daily activities.”
Disabilities range in cause and severity from person to person. Some people are disabled due to a birth injury or accident, while others may be disabled due to a genetic or neurological disorder. Everyone is different, and you must be aware of this to cater to individual needs with sensitivity.
Below we have listed some great ways you can attract more disabled candidates to your advertised job roles.
1. Review the recruitment process
Many potential barriers in the recruitment process exclude disabled candidates from applying. Complicated application forms, for example, can be off-putting for people with learning difficulties, while others may find attending in-person interviews particularly distressing.
To attract disabled candidates to your job roles, it is important to review your recruitment process. After all, without taking the time to review your recruitment process, you could be missing out on some top talent.
How to do this: We suggest adding multiple application and interviewing methods to suit a wider range of people. Allow written or video applications as well as in-person or remote interviews. And if you’re not sure what will suit the individual best, just ask.
2. Partner with specialist agencies
Did you know that disabled people are twice as likely as non-disabled people to face unemployment?
Therefore, to reach potential candidates, we recommend partnering with specialist agencies who are experienced at helping get disabled individuals into employment.
Offering this service and promoting the fact that you are partnered with specialist agencies will, in turn, make your company feel much more approachable for disabled candidates.
How to do this: get in touch with your local service providers, such as Job Centres, Centres for Independent Living, and vocational rehabilitation agencies. These organisations will be the key to supporting you in finding qualified candidates for the position.
3. Gain the relevant accreditation
If you want to attract more disabled candidates, it is important you meet certain standards that demonstrate your commitment to an inclusive application process.
Such accreditations include Disability Confident and Mindful Employer certifications (to name a few) and can put you miles ahead of other recruiters looking to extend their hiring net.
How to do this: If you would like to sign up for the Disability Confident scheme, you can do so on Gov.UK.
4. Promote your intentions
There is no point discussing your willingness to hire disabled candidates amongst yourselves – you have to let people know your intentions.
Taking action by promoting your willingness to hire disabled candidates can go a long way in attracting applicants who may not otherwise have had the confidence to apply. Simply promoting your intentions can make all the difference in attracting more disabled candidates.
How to do this: Promotion can involve sharing your intentions on social media and writing “we welcome applications from disabled people” on job adverts.
5. Share others’ stories
One of the most important things disabled candidates want to know is that disabled people already work for the company, so personal stories can play a big part in sharing your message.
Personal stories can be one of the most effective ways to attract disabled candidates to your workplace, giving them that final boost of confidence they need to apply.
How to do this: We recommend soliciting stories from disabled staff members to share on your website, in your brochures, on social media, and in job descriptions.
6. Provide scholarship opportunities
For many underrepresented people, financial assistance is one of the best ways to encourage participation. Without scholarships, people with disabilities may find themselves keen but unable to consider your job due to financial constraints.
How to do this: Offer funding to employees looking to further their development and education. Ask them if there are skills they want to develop or subjects they’d like to study and support them by providing the funding to do so.
7. Share disability inclusion as an organisational value
Disability inclusion should be something every workplace values. However, not all do.
If you want to attract disabled candidates, you need to share that your company has disability inclusion as an organisational value.
Developing and promoting disability inclusion as an organisational value isn’t just a strategy to encourage more disabled candidates to apply; it’s simply the right thing to do.
When employees feel valued and supported, they will do their best work and feel empowered to fulfil their potential. So, creating a disability-inclusive workspace is in the best interest of both the individuals it employs and your business.
How to do this: speak to your HR team about improving disability inclusion in the office. Interview disabled employees and ask how you could be doing better. Listen, learn, and show that you care.
8. Prioritise access for all
While disabled access, such as ramps and lifts, is important for those using walking sticks and wheelchairs, it is important to remember that not all disabilities are physical.
Disabled people with neuro-divergent conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD, and Autism can find loud noise, bright lights, and heavy patterns on office walls difficult to process.
How to do this: Tone down the decoration, include disability entrances, allow access to quiet spaces, provide noise-cancelling headphones, typing assistance, and natural lighting. Those are just a few points to help you get started.
As a recruiter and an employer, your job is to provide fulfilling career opportunities to everyone – including those with disabilities.
Making your company more attractive to disabled candidates will not only open it up to a whole new pool of talent, but it will also promote your company as one that understands what is most important: people.
By Gemma Hart, HR / Careers Specialist.