Thursday, March 29, 2018
Shared from M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC’s website, www.specialneedsplanning.net.
A couple of weeks ago, we published a blog titled December 2017 Jobs Report: Year-end Job Numbers Cap Record Year for Americans with Disabilities. The title of the blog is self explanatory – last year, more individuals with disabilities entered the job market that ever before. We took some time in this blog to look at the actual numbers, and to discuss the potential causes of this increase. Some factors we identified included heightened awareness on the part of employers as to the benefits of hiring diverse individuals, education campaigns encouraging individuals with disabilities to enter the job market, and changes to federal hiring policies as instituted by Obama, among other things.
Today, we would like to continue to talk individuals with disabilities and employment. Having more individuals with disabilities in the workplace is beneficial to everyone. Employers can benefit from a new pool of talented, diverse, hard working individuals that are eager to fully explore their workplace potential. Individuals with disabilities that obtain jobs now have an increased financial stability, as well as experience indirect perks, such as increased socialization, renewed sense of purpose, and other psychological benefits. It’s a win-win, for everyone.
The education campaigns and advocacy efforts are working, albeit slowly. Individuals with disabilities are getting hired in larger numbers than ever before. There is still work to be done, however. What further steps can be taken to ensure that these individuals can access job opportunities, obtain employment, and settle in as contributing employees? How can employers take a more active role in getting individuals with disabilities in their workplace? How can employees of a company (that do not have any role in hiring) help? Well, we have a few suggestions.
Actively recruit individuals with diverse skills and talents.
Currently, the unemployment rate in the United States is at a record low. As a result, employers are experiencing difficulty recruiting and retaining talent. Solution? Look for talent in other areas – namely, individuals with disabilities that many not be in the workforce. There are a number of ways to recruit these individuals:
1.) Examine existing jobs and duties to see which ones can be altered, changed, shifted to accommodate a person with a disability. Look at your current workforce to examine ways that a person with a disability can enhance your organization. As written on the website www.humanresourcesonline.net, “In situations where potential employees do not fit into traditional job roles, or when current employees become disabled, organisations can do a review of job requirements and workplace processes. By doing so, employers can better develop or redeploy persons with disabilities to match roles that leverage on their strengths.”
2.) Pre-Decide ways in which your company can provide accommodations. Are there any physical barriers that would hinder an individual with disability? Is your workplace accessible? Would you be able to consider making accommodations, such as flexible hours, work from home, etc.? Examine your workplace for ways to make it more attractive to individuals with disabilities that may experience physical barriers to employment in other workplaces.
3.) Attend Diversity and/or Disability Job Fairs. Now that you have examined your workplace for ways to improve your company and attract talented individuals with disabilities, you need to get the word out there. Attend disability job fairs to interact with individuals looking for employment. Advertise your company as an employer that is committed to diversity. Interact with other companies that employ individuals with disabilities to learn how they provide accommodations and are benefitted by having a diverse team of skilled individuals. Meet the individuals, get their resumes, make the hire!
Ensure your Current Employees Can Support Employees with Disabilities
Actively recruiting individuals with disabilities is an excellent first step – it is also important to make sure that they are welcomed into an inclusive environment, in which they can work effectively and productively, supported by all members of their team. Employers can use a few different methods to encourage inclusivity, such as providing access to training and educational programs for all employees. These programs can help employees provide a supportive workplace. Employers can also provide ways for employees to interact and socialize outside of work hours – this can help employees become comfortable with one another, and help to build an atmosphere of support, comradery and trust. Most importantly, employers can help support employees with disabilities by leading with example. If employees see managers, supervisors, CEOs – people of authority – valuing individuals with disabilities based on their skills, talents, and capabilities the culture of inclusivity will blossom. And, as we said earlier, that’s a win-win.
Would you Like More Information?
The staff at M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC are experts in helping individuals with disabilities navigate concerns and financial issues related to employment. For more information on employment for individuals with disabilities, please contact us. We would love to meet you!