Strong talent communities have become an integral part of good recruiting and hiring strategies. The bigger the talent community, the more options for high quality talent employers have. But to populate those communities, it’s up to recruiters and talent management personnel to be open and creative in the way they seek out potential employees and consider what they can bring to the table.
One way to do this is to reach out to the disabled segment of the population. Even with the increased focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, people with disabilities are often overlooked as a strong recruitment source. This needs to change.
Recruiting people with disabilities can provide a variety of benefits for your business or organization, including some that can be rather unexpected.
When you consider that nearly 20% of adults in the U.S. alone has a disability, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, targeting the disabled population for recruitment opens you up to huge number of potential talent pool members.
Aside from sheer volume, however, people with disabilities also bring different perspectives. Take Jules Dameron, a deaf film director and actor, for example. In the article Deaf Talent community showcases art, Dameron pointed out that “the deaf community should feel empowered in the fact that they have a different perspective with different abilities than everybody else.” She believes “Being deaf is a gift because our brain is wired completely different. We are spatial in the way we relate to the world. We have a really different way of seeing the world than hearing people.”
Dameron also encourages people to drop their preconceived notions that deaf people are lacking and instead make an effort to meet deaf individuals and learn how much they have to offer.
The deaf community is just one example, but Dameron’s point relates to groups with all types of disabilities: Take the time to get to know people before you judge them and make assumptions about their capabilities and what they can offer. Make an effort to attract and engage people with disabilities by creating talent communities that speak to their interests and concerns.
Something to consider as an added benefit of hiring people with disabilities is, the more you learn about them and understand their needs, the greater your ability to at marketing your products and services to that segment and possibly gain them as customers.
Not only that but you’ll be educating your other employees as well, and they, in turn, can carry that education to their communities.
If you’d like to learn more about recruiting and engaging people with disabilities, here are some good resources:
EARN – Resources to help employers recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities
Recruitment and Retention section of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
WorkSupport.com offers Information, resources and research about work and disability issues
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) helps employers integrate people with disabilities
You might even look into grants from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The WIOA is intended to help people get the education and training they need to secure long-term career placement. It is also meant to improve services and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Its grants provide for job search and placement assistance as well as employment counseling, career planning and many support services.