Organizations that have inclusive hiring strategies, workplace accessibility initiatives and effective accommodations allow employers to provide equal opportunities for job seekers with disabilities.
In a recent webinar, Sarah Pullano, Senior Account Manager at Getting Hired, Julia Méndez, Principal Business Consultant at PeopleFluent, and Lisa Maberry, Diversity Program Manager for Global Talent Acquisition at Microsoft, provided best practices on these topics.
How do we define a disability?
Getting Hired follows the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of a disability. The ADA defines a person with a disability as “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”
- It’s important to note that an individual's disability status can change, disabilities can be acquired, and over 70% of disabilities are non-apparent.
- 1 in 4 Americans has a disability, and employers must consider how many of their employees it could apply to at present day and in the future.
How do we define Workplace Accessibility?
- The design of products, devices, services and/or environments for people of varying abilities.
- Accessibility can include universal design, meaning it provides benefits for people with or without disabilities. An example of this is voice command technology on telephones.
How do we define Effective Accommodations?
- The ADA definition of an accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment or the way the hiring process usually functions. An example is offering a quiet workspace for employees with noise sensitivity or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Most accommodations cost $500 or less, and many cost nothing at all.
Top tips for an inclusive experience for job seekers with disabilities
Employers can boost the chances of success in their inclusive hiring, accessibility and accommodation efforts by looking at other organizations like Microsoft that have already seen results on this front.
Here are some key principles and approaches that have been effective for businesses:
- See it through - Employers that commit to inclusion at every stage - from job advertisement and hiring through to onboarding, integration into the workforce and workplace experience - will increase the chances of success for candidates and the organization as a whole.
- Create a community - Individuals with disabilities should feel that they are part of a team and have resources, support and people available to help them thrive in their job.
- Get the best out of social media - Employers that want to engage with candidates with disabilities should be using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as their go-to social media platforms. These are valuable channels to showcase an organization's brand identity and inclusive culture.
- Grab easy wins - Simple steps - such as placing an accommodation statement in an easily accessible location on the company's website, or creating a dedicated page for inclusion and diversity - can deliver big results.
By taking these steps and coming up with clear, relevant policies to guide hiring, accessibility and accommodation, businesses can provide equal opportunities for all job seekers. Truly diverse and inclusive organizations will maximize their chances of success by accessing the widest possible range of talent.
To learn more about how Microsoft has supported job seekers with disabilities in the workplace, watch the full recording of the webinar here: