It is a fact that most people with disabilities worldwide continue to encounter significant barriers in the workplace in 2021. The UN has found that approximately 386 million of the world’s working-age people have some kind of disability, yet the majority of this population still aren’t being given an opportunity to work.

So how can HR leaders attract potential talent with disabilities, and retain them through a positive employee experience?

Improve Accessibility Through Remote Working:

Remote working has allowed us to challenge the status quo when it comes to where, when, and how we work best, proving that you don’t need to be chained to your desk for the nine-to-five workweek.

Most importantly, it’s made work more accessible and inclusive by opening up a whole new world when it comes to hiring new candidates.

When you enable remote or flexible working at your business, you create the opportunity to improve inclusiveness and diversity within your business. Essentially, you are broadening your candidate pool and inviting everyone to apply, whether they’re located overseas, or simply unable to attend the office.

This approach can help reduce inequality by creating more equitable employment opportunities for those who may not have the opportunity otherwise.

People such as carers and people with disabilities, and those unable to commute to the office have often been excluded from the full range of career options.

Establish A Diversity Council:

Fostering an inclusive workplace culture involves more than simply building a diverse team of individuals.
It requires ongoing commitment towards policy implementation and behavior management. This can be a tough job for HR departments alone, especially when they are responsible for juggling other demanding tasks.
Diversity Councils also ensure the onus for inclusivity does not fall on the shoulders of underrepresented groups within the workplace. Instead, they recognize it takes a collective approach to enact change within an organization.

The role of diversity councils is to periodically evaluate a business’ level of inclusivity and professional development to ensure all members have equal opportunities to flourish.

Councils should be diverse themselves to represent your people. If this step is considered difficult due to a lack of diversity within the executive levels of your business, ensure all managers are well versed in inclusive leadership, behavior, language, and strategies.

Ensure Diversity Is Reflected In Your Board:

To source, attract and retain talent at the board level, companies need to identify potential or underrepresented candidates such as people with disabilities and provide resources to prepare them for the role. It’s critical to identify areas of opportunity to encourage, support, and nurture diverse groups of people into board positions.

In positions of management and leadership representation matters. For executive teams to perform at a high level, they require people with divergent perspectives and various levels of experience.
For businesses, there are many ways to achieve this. One of the most critical being to appoint a diverse board of directors including people with disabilities and ensure a culture of diversity and inclusion in the boardroom.

A visible commitment to the representation of disabled people and minority groups in the boardroom speaks volumes to your employees and customers.

Take Action:

Start by asking some tough questions of your business;

How many people with disabilities do we currently employ?
Are most of our employees with a disability in entry-level positions? Are they receiving fair opportunities for growth?
What is the retention rate of our employees with disabilities?
Is there pay parity between staff members in the same position?

Consider putting some targets in place around all of these areas, and hold senior staff members accountable for reaching these targets.
This should lead to a company-wide understanding of the experiences and needs of people with disabilities, from employees to future recruits to customers.

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