Making work more accessible for disabled talent
Employers are missing out on a huge pool of skilled talent by not rethinking their perceptions. There are 13.3 million disabled people in the UK. They can offer a wealth of knowledge, capabilities and experience that can enrich businesses in countless ways – so long as organisations make the necessary adjustments that will enable them to thrive.
An inclusive culture is about more than just policies. It’s about making genuine changes to the way your company operates. It’s about focusing on someone’s knowledge, skills and experiences, not their impairments. It’s about creating an environment where talent from every background can flourish and feel comfortable. As employers, we all have a responsibility to break down the barriers that prevent disabled talent from accessing meaningful work, so they can advance both their careers and our businesses. It’s much easier to do than you might think.
Improving accessibility of jobs
Take our work with Jaguar Land Rover as an example. To make their job opportunities more accessible, we partnered with Enable, a charity which works to make life better for people with disabilities. They identified several deaf candidates who successfully completed the online application process, after receiving appropriate support. We worked together to make a number of adjustments to ensure the recruitment process would be accessible – such as ensuring an interpreter was in attendance at all stages of the process, and making sure our Assessors and Interviewers were mindful of making sufficient pauses, to allow the interpreter to relay questions or instructions.
One deaf candidate, Gareth, was successful in all stages of the recruitment process, and we quickly worked to establish a safe working environment that would enable him to start in his role. We arranged for full-time interpretation support during his first six weeks in the role and we implemented a buddy system in case of a fire. We also arranged for adjustments to be made to the training process, which made him both happier and more relaxed.
Gareth has worked at Jaguar Land Rover since June 2017 and has since recommended these opportunities to friends too. Based on feedback from Gareth, we’ve made further adjustments to the recruitment process to make it even more accessible to hearing impaired applicants in the future. A further three hearing impaired candidates were placed in November 2017 and another hearing impaired candidate will be starting shortly.
We’re immensely proud to have been recognised at the recent Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) Awards, for our efforts to make more diverse, inclusive workplaces. We were the winner of both the Reasonable Adjustments in Recruitment Award and the Greatest Impact award – which recognises those organisations that ensure disabled candidates can maximise their potential and make a full contribution.
By finding the right match between an individual and an employer, we can empower individuals, transform businesses and invigorate communities. We believe that meaningful and sustainable employment has the power to change the world, and nurturing diversity is just one of the ways we hope to achieve this.
We would like to encourage more employers to think about how they can facilitate opportunities for this under-tapped talent pool. And one of the ways we’re doing this is by representing the recruitment industry on the Disability Confident Business Leaders Group – a Government scheme that aims to get one million more disabled people into employment.
Disability Confident helps organisations to recruit and retain disabled people, by providing a framework that challenges perceptions about disabilities and helping them to build programmes that will support disabled people into work. More than 5,000 UK employers have signed up to Disability Confident to date; and, as part of the Business Leaders Group, we’re proud of the role we play in helping that number continue to grow.
Play a leading role in changing attitudes for the better by signing up your organisation to Disability Confident at disabilityconfident.campaign.gov.uk. Or, if you’d like to find out more about the RIDI awards and our work at Jaguar Land Rover, visit ridi.org.uk/ridi-awards