Diversity and inclusion go beyond the common perceptions of race, culture, and language. Oftentimes, different walks of life such as education, experience, and lifestyles are overlooked. Disabilities, such as physical and mental, can present an exceptional challenge to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Here are some tips for implementing and improving disability inclusion in the workplace.
Modifying the Interview Process. One way to implement an effective, disability-sensitive interview process is through proper HR training.
- Candidate assessment. Not all candidates will present or disclose disabilities. It is important for interviewers to be able to read body language or cues that indicate any discomfort, as well as adapt to such obstacles. One best practice is to eliminate the assumption or expectation that all interviews will be conducted the same.
- Flexible interview style. To best understand a candidate’s strengths, incorporating different interview techniques can provide a versatile setting for which candidates may be more comfortable to open up and better communicate their unique personality. Adjust your interview style to match the candidate. This allows you to gain invaluable insight to the compatibility of the candidate to the company/team and vice versa.
- Mindful of environment. This might sound obvious, but if possible, avoid having interviews in high-traffic areas or noisy environments. For example, some interviewers may conduct their interview outdoors or an open conference room. This may cause disruptions to the interview process, as well as the interviewee’s attention or concentration to the interview questions.
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This HR training should be extended to all employees, such as non-HR members involved in the interviewing process.
Simplifying Accommodation Requests. A common hurdle the HR department may face are complex processes. To simplify a candidate’s request for accommodation, HR should only include the basics (i.e., the name of the employee or requestor and the accommodation request). Eliminate the required medical questions or irrelevant information on the request form. This can streamline the review process and fulfill the request in a timely manner.
Developing Opportunities to Foster Growth. “How can we support and retain our employees?” This is a commonly asked question HR and management ponder. Opportunities to advance can provide incentives for an employee to stay with the company. Upskilling, reskilling, tuition reimbursement, and other training, education, and skills that can support employee growth and provide opportunities for promotion are great ways to encourage employee engagement and increase chances of retaining your employees.
Ongoing Disability Inclusion Awareness, Training, and Education. Embodying disability inclusion in the business foundation can assist with creating an employee-centric work environment. Best practices include managers checking in with their employees, ensure they have all necessary resources to support their employees, and continue education on bringing disability inclusion awareness into the workplace, training employees on best practices, and developing ways to continue education, such as lunch-and-learns.
You may already have a disability inclusion provision in your employee handbook or training programs and resources in place to ensure inclusion of all walks of life in the workplace. If you would like help reviewing or updating your employee handbook, add additional resources to your repertoire, and continue developing a more diverse and inclusive workplace, please contact VensureHR. Our team of HR experts can provide forward-thinking HR services and solutions to problems unique to your business or industry.