Attracting Employees With Disabilities: A Guide
Creating a business culture in which all are welcome is the goal of entrepreneurs who understand that staff who have disabilities can bring a wealth of knowledge with them. To get these potential employees on board, your company may need to offer some physical accommodations and other incentives to reel them in. Here are a few ideas on how to do so, presented by Discover Dr. G.
Make Sure You Have an EIN
Before you add any workers to your payroll, as one of the first steps to start a new business, make sure you have an employee ID number (EIN). This nine-digit number essentially grants you permission to hire employees, as well as open bank accounts connected to your business. Your EIN can also help keep your personal finances separate from your business finances. You can get an EIN by using online services that simplify the process and allow you to get back to the task at hand: building and growing your business — with some help from your new employees.
Updating Your Recruitment Process
According to research by SHRM, only approximately 25% of entities set explicit goals for hiring individuals with disabilities. Revamping your recruitment efforts could be just what is needed to tap into the market of qualified candidates with disabilities. Ideas for updating your hiring practices include:
• Working with independent living housing to post career opportunities
• Connecting with higher-learning institution's employment centers
• Creating a committee of current disabled employees to assist with recruitment efforts
• Attending career fairs for job seekers living with disabilities
• Trying out services that seek to connect people with employment prospects
Providing Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace
Reasonable accommodation may include ensuring facilities are accessible to and usable for people with disabilities. In addition, it could include streamlining a job by allowing the individual a modified work schedule or reassigning him or her to a vacant position. A reasonable accommodation could further include exam modification, training materials, interpreters, readers, and more.
Though companies sometimes worry that accommodating staff with disabilities could be costly, Understood notes that the expense actually averages around $500. The benefits, such as heightened efficiency, improved staff retention, and a more inclusive workplace often outweigh the costs.
Workplace accommodations extend to technology, as well. Investing in the right software and tools can increase efficiency, as well as make it easier for employees to do their jobs.
Creating Internship and Mentoring Programs
Though most people feel intimidated when beginning a new job, those fears can be exacerbated for individuals with disabilities. Businesses can take this burden off of the disabled by developing a disability-inclusive mentoring program. The mentors need not have a disability, but simply be willing to take training and provide guidance to those who need accommodation. As with anything new, a mentoring program could hit a few bumps as it takes shape. Leaders can offset this by encouraging all parties to provide feedback openly in hopes of making the arrangement beneficial to everyone involved.
Establishing an Environment that Welcomes the Disabled
Everyone enjoys feeling included and the disabled are no exception to that rule. Be sure to promote a work environment that rejects jokes about people with different abilities, allows disabled employees to share as much or as little about their capabilities as they desire with others, and ensures that every work activity is accessible to all staff. An employee in a wheelchair will have a tough time getting to know coworkers if the after-work hotspot has several flights of stairs and no ramp.
Another idea for ensuring that people with disabilities feel like a part of the team is to create a panel for inclusion. The panel can consist of those with and those without disabilities to get a healthy dialogue flowing about the importance of inclusion for all employees.
Including individuals with disabilities in your enterprise can grant your organization a new perspective that could be highly advantageous both to the company and to the person seeking employment. Though it could take some time to change your hiring practices and business model to be more inclusive in the end it could be well worth your while.