Organizations with a focus on diversity and inclusion hiring should understand the importance of providing proper accommodations to individuals with disabilities when arranging an interview.
With a wealth of talented job seekers with disabilities now looking for employment across the U.S., companies need to ensure they are doing all they can to fully support these candidates when applying for roles at their firm.
Accommodations are low cost for employers
A study conducted by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), shows that workplace accommodations not only are low cost, but also positively impact the workplace in many ways.
Employers reported that providing accommodations resulted:
- Retaining valuable employees
- Improving productivity and morale
- Reducing workers’ compensation and training costs
- Improving company diversity
The employers in the study reported that almost 60% of accommodations cost nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500 or less.
Meeting obligations on accommodation during the interview process
Companies should remember that the majority of accommodations for candidates can be streamlined alongside the provisions they already have in place for existing staff members with a disability. Here we offer a list of the four basic accommodations that all businesses should be able to provide for job seekers:
1. On-site testing: Computer-based tests should be accessible to candidates with all disabilities. This should include ensuring written and oral tests are available in a range of alternative formats, to render them accessible to candidates who are deaf or blind.
2. Sign language interpreters: Providing candidates who are deaf with facilities of either an in-person interpreting service or interpreting via a live video relay.
3. Reading assistance: Candidates who are blind should receive an in-person reading service, or be given access to a team member willing to assist in the reading and signing of documents.
4. Facility access: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all businesses provide full access to the facility, work site, needed equipment and all facilities used by employees (parking lots, exits, entrances, hallways, stairwells, restrooms, etc.) when carrying out on-site interviews.
It is also essential to understand that 80 percent of individuals with a disability will have a condition that is not visible. This can include cancer, autoimmune conditions, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or epilepsy. As a result, the Job Accommodation Network offers a comprehensive breakdown of workplace accommodation suggestions for employers covering all areas of hidden and visible disabilities.
Training for hiring managers surrounding disability awareness should therefore be a priority, as this ensures companies are always ready to provide the appropriate accommodations, as well as being sensitive to the needs of all candidates applying for roles.
Local partnership and outreach is essential
Businesses that are unable to provide the necessary accommodations for job seeker candidates should aim to work alongside local partners to make their facilities accessible.
The ADA National Network provides 10 ADA National Network Centers located around the country that are specifically designed to offer comprehensive support for accommodations and accessibility of facilities. Businesses in need of support in this area should therefore get in touch with their nearest center to offer the essential provisions for handling interviews for job seekers with disabilities.
Reaching out to local partners in this way can be a great way for businesses to not only improve links with the disability community in their area, but also ensure they offer all the facilities necessary to comply with ADA regulations and onboard the best staff.
The importance of providing successful accommodation for candidates with a disability must therefore not be underestimated. However, businesses should realize that, in many cases, accommodations are not necessary.
Companies of all sizes should take heed of the above advice and you can find out more about the benefits of partnering with third parties, even if you're a small business, by reading our recent blog 'Small businesses benefit from third-party support in disability hiring.'
Contributions to this blog were made by the Getting Hired team.