10.4%. That’s the current unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities1.
Many companies say they are equal opportunity employers but their actions around disability employment don’t indicate that they’re doing enough to chip away at this unemployment rate. Further, the numbers don’t indicate that people with disabilities are employed at the same level as the general population. Why is this the case? More than likely there are people with hidden disabilities working in your organization, however many of them haven’t disclosed their disability for fear of being treated differently or limiting their advancement. When there’s a culture of disability inclusion, people are not fearful to disclose they have a disability.
How can your organization take necessary steps to ensure that people with disabilities are a factor in the diversity equation? SMG offers a few insights to help your organization create a culture of disability inclusion.
- Be honest: It’s imperative that companies assess what active steps they’ve taken to recruit individuals with disabilities. Does your company have an Employee Resource Group? A senior leader who champions disability inclusion? Do you provide training to HR staff and hiring managers? When your company highlights D&I are people with disabilities included?
- Listen: The best way to understand the experience of employees with disabilities, or those impacted by disability with a child or loved one, is to talk openly and honestly with them about their experiences at the company. Conduct internal listening groups of employees impacted by disability. This forum has to be safe for participants to freely share. This valuable input will help inform the overall recruitment plan.
- Plan: Creating a disability recruitment plan will provide you with a the road map for your organization to actively recruit people with disabilities. To be successful, it’s imperative to have a budget and staff to support the implementation of the recruitment plan. Additionally, input for developing the recruitment plan should come from cross-functional internal teams, with active engagement from senior leaders.
- Publish success: In focus groups completed by SMG, respondents indicated that one of the primary ways companies demonstrate their commitment to people with disabilities was by actively recruiting and hiring them. They also shared that robust employment efforts provided a resounding demonstration of corporate commitment, which strengthened the brand’s equity. SMG suggests that publishing disability employment success in internal communications, as well as externally, will show that the company’s walk and talk align.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and now is the time to galvanize the internal teams within your organization to develop and implement an inclusive disability recruitment plan. If you’d like to learn more about how to create a culture of disability inclusion, contact the SMG Team for a 30-minute discovery call to gain further insights. To schedule, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.