The Business Side of Disability – PART 2

As part of our continued celebration of October being National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), this is PART 2 of our blog series showcasing the untapped workforce of job seekers with disabilities. In PART 1, we explored the overall value workers with disabilities can bring to your organization, but here we will be exploring how you can attract those employees to apply for open positions at your company.

How to Make Talent Recruitment Accessible

First things first, if someone doesn’t see your job posting, they won’t be able to apply for the position. Posting jobs on the internet may not be enough, as only one in four American adults with a disability report having access to high-speed internet. Try some print or radio postings. If you do post online, be sure to include large graphics and audio descriptions. Another sure-fire way to find a candidate, would be to reach out to community-based organizations like Easterseals or state agencies like the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, as they provide direct employment assistance to job seekers with disabilities. These groups can share your job posting directly with those they represent.

Volunteering or Recruiting?

There are few people who can claim the first job they started in is still the same job they are working today. We try out new jobs, see how they fit, and then move on when it doesn’t work out. That’s why Easterseals provides a Career Exploration Program for people with disabilities. It allows an individual to try out a job and gain first-hand experience about what working in this position is like. This only happens when a business allows Easterseals and their program participants on the job site to try it out. While the individual is there, a hiring manager can evaluate the potential employee to see if they can complete the job tasks as assigned. If it’s a “good fit” for both the business and the individual sampling the job, the business can choose to hire the participant. All of a sudden, a volunteer opportunity has turned into a recruitment opportunity. So a partnership with programs such as these could be a fantastic way to “try before you buy” when it comes to hiring employees with disabilities.

Market to Your Audience

Our final piece of advice surrounds your company’s marketing materials and overall brand presence. It has become standard practice for marketers to include diverse representation in their photo and video content. This most often manifests in showcasing individuals of various races, religions, and genders. What is often missing is representation of people with disabilities. If you feature photos and videos of your staff including people with disabilities, it sends a signal to job seekers that you may be an inclusive work environment. Perhaps show someone using sign language to communicate or show someone handing out a business card with raised braille lettering. These are subtle, yet effective indicators you are ready to speak with a job candidate with a disability.

There’s a labor shortage out there and there are high costs associated with recruitment and retention. To minimize these costs and start hiring from an untapped workforce, we encourage you to try out some of our aforementioned recruitment strategies. In PART 3 of this blog series, we will be focusing on how to make the workplace more accessible for people with disabilities.  

In the meantime, you can check out fascinating statistics and learn more at eastersealsnj.org/NDEAM