The crucial role of training in recruiting more people with disabilities

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Written by Eleanor Goichman Brett on 17 September 2021 in Opinion
Opinion

Eleanor Goichman Brett underlines the importance of accessible and inclusive learning.

Learning professionals in any organisation have a responsibility to ensure that all their learning is accessible and inclusive for everyone.

One of the best ways to do that is to have the internal knowledge and resources within your team to understand what true disability inclusion looks like – that means ensuring disability representation within your own learning teams. And yet, despite a fifth of working age people in the UK having a disability, only half of disabled people are in employment, according to recent figures.

Here are some practical ways you can support your organisation to recruit more people with disabilities:

Embed disability inclusion in your training for hiring managers

Your recruitment teams are likely able to support hiring managers in implementing accessible recruitment and providing reasonable adjustment. However, your hiring managers should know their responsibilities to create an accessible and inclusive experience for people with disabilities.

This should include how to manage the biases that may prevent them hiring a disabled person despite them being the ideal candidate.

Hiring managers can’t be expected to be disability experts but they should know their accessibility responsibilities and where to get the right information when they need it.

One of the main reasons that a disabled candidate isn’t hired is pessimistic views and biases on the part of the employer – not the candidate's ability to do the job. These biased beliefs often come from a place of benevolence – for example, believing that a disabled candidate may be at physical or emotional risk if offered the job.

Training for hiring managers should therefore include information on benevolence bias and, more importantly, how to spot and manage it within their decisions.

Provide the right support for hiring managers, at the right time

Of course, having a robust reasonable adjustments process for candidates is important – proactively asking about the access or adjustment needs a candidate may have. But even more important is ensuring that your recruitment teams and hiring managers have the support they need to implement those adjustments when requested.

Hiring managers can’t be expected to be disability experts but they should know their accessibility responsibilities and where to get the right information when they need it.

For example, if a candidate has requested a sign language interpreter for an interview, they should have access to learning tools that help them understand the best way to communicate with someone who uses a sign language interpreter.

Ensure all your training includes disability-relevant examples

To become a truly disability-inclusive employer, thinking about accessibility and disability inclusion needs to become part of your organisational culture. That means everyone needs to understand why disability inclusion is important to your business – and think about the experience of disabled people in everything from your events and communications to your products and services.

A great way to ensure those considerations are being made is to include disability-relevant examples in all your training – not just those focused on people processes or soft skills but also technical and role-related training.

Use storytelling

Storytelling is a great way to share insights into what true disability inclusion looks like. So sharing stories in your training of real candidate, employee and customer experiences can really help your people understand the difference it can make both to individuals and to your business aims.

However, it’s really important not to come across as 'tokenistic'. It’s key to share stories of different people who have genuinely positive experiences and use different accessible methods to showcase their experiences of your processes, support, values and culture.

For your organisation to increase its recruitment of disabled people, hiring managers need to feel equipped and supported to ensure an accessible and inclusive experience. So having the right training and tools available is vital.

 

About the author

Eleanor Goichman Brett is a consultant and trainer at global diversity and inclusion training consultancy PDT Global, part of Affirmity.

 

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