Best Practices When Hiring a Person with a Disability 

Hiring a person with a disability - Golden Rule Industries - OklahomaIf you’re ready to bring greater diversity into your business or organization, you should consider hiring persons with disabilities in your workforce. Not only are persons with disabilities an underutilized talent pool, but they often bring unique capabilities and benefits to the work environment that those without disabilities do not. If nearly 40% of employers are having challenges hiring and retaining qualified employers, it’s time to rethink your hiring process toward greater inclusion of persons with a disability. And if you don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered with some tips and best practices.  

Don’t Pre-Judge When Hiring a Person with a Disability

One of the most crucial things to remember when looking to hire a person with a disability is to keep an open mind. Disability is a general term, but it doesn’t come in a one-size-fits all package. Whether it’s a physical limitation like someone using a wheelchair or an invisible disability such as a chronic illness, the goal is to put yourself in that person’s shoes.  Take the time to understand where he or she is coming from and respect that person’s abilities. People with disabilities may surprise you with their resiliency, due to the challenges and barriers they have overcome 

Make Your Hiring Information Accessible

Another thing to plan for when you’re getting ready to hire people with disabilities is having your business or organization’s information accessible. Making your website accessible to people with vision and hearing impairments is a fundamental way to attract candidates with disabilities, and there are tips online on how to do it.  Also, make sure things like your documents, such as application forms and questionnaires are available in accessible formats and consider alternatives to written, medical, or aptitude tests depending on the person’s disability. 

Focus on the Applicant’s Strengths and Abilities

As was already mentioned, having an open mind and not carrying judgement is the best way to begin the hiring process of people with disabilities. And in many cases, people with disabilities bring strengths to the table that their non-disabled counterparts do not. For example, employers who have hired people with developmental disabilities have noticed characteristics of reliability, taking fewer sick days than their co-workers, productivity, continually meeting or exceeding the performance of their peers, and displays of job satisfaction and a positive attitude. Additionally, employees with autism have a way of seeing and doing things differently, offering a fresh perspective into your company’s work processes. And in the case of JP Morgan Chase, managers have seen examples where those with autism were 140 times more productive than their peers! 

Encourage Flexibility in the Workplace

Once you’ve gotten to know an employee in the interview and onboarding process, you should be flexible to their work flow and how they do things in accordance to their disability.  This means considering things like someone having to take a regular medication and offering part-time hours or more breaks to accommodate them and their productivity. And it’s not just you as the hiring manager that should be aware of how to treat and onboard employees who have a disability. Make sure you encourage an environment of inclusivity in the workplace. This means training those under you and all of your employees on diversity and creating a supportive work environment across a range of abilities. 

Work with Organizations that Support People with Disabilities

Lastly, to better connect your business or company to potential employees with disabilities, you can work with organizations, nonprofits, and social programs that support people with disabilities. There are many business focused organizations and resources for employers where you can begin. And if you’re local to the area of Muskogee, Tahlequah, or Wagoner, Oklahoma, you can work with us at Golden Rule Industries to find employees with developmental disabilities!

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