Inclusive Recruitment

Part 2

Accessibility Tick
Inclusive group of people

Inclusion

Although this module focuses on accessibility needs, many of the principles apply to other diversity groups, including race and gender.

Training Contents

  1. Recruitment Strategy
  2. Recruitment Policy
  3. Policy Changes
  4. If diversity is a new issue for your organisation...
  5. If your organisation is comfortable with diversity...
  6. Customised job design
  7. Becoming receptive to accessibility and inclusion
  8. Confidentiality and privacy rights

After you have completed the training there is a 5 question quiz to test your knowledge.

1. Recruitment Strategy

Recruiting people with access needs can be a very successful way to tap into this underutilised 20%+ of the workforce if you are aware of your organisation’s commitment and capability around diversity and inclusion.

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1. Recruitment Strategy

Hiring diverse people into an organisation that is culturally hostile to them can only lead to failure for the people being hired, and to the reinforcement of unhelpful stereotypes.

A woman sitting by herself, looking at a group of men who are laughing together.

2. Recruitment Policy

We all have a tendency to hire people who are ‘like us’.

A group of people in the office from different ethnicities, genders, and disabilities.

The best way to overcome this tendency is to adopt policies which favour diversity and then to have multiple people engaged in the recruitment process to ensure that unconscious biases are uncovered and removed in discussion.

3. Policy Changes

Policies which favour applicants with access needs can counter-balance unconscious bias and help your organisation to become more inclusive more quickly.

You may decide, for example, that any qualified candidate who declares an access need will be interviewed.

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4. If diversity is a new issue for your organisation...

If your organisation is early in its diversity journey, you may wish to focus on finding managers or operating units who are particularly receptive, and having them take the lead.

A kid dressed as a superhero, posing proudly

4. If diversity is a new issue for your organisation...

Any people recruited should be supported by mentors within the organisation who have been appropriately trained to understand the biases which people face when they are perceived as different.

Note that this mentorship is not because the new hire needs support (though they may) but to help the organisation to adjust to having someone ‘not like us’ joining them.

5. If your organisation is comfortable with diversity...

If your organisation is generally comfortable with diversity, you should adjust your standard recruitment processes to become more receptive to diverse applicants, including actively encouraging candidates with access needs to apply.

You may use these changed processes as a learning tool to challenge the organisation to become even more receptive to diversity.

5. If your organisation is comfortable with diversity...

If you are diversity champions, or believe your organisation can become so, you may wish to both adjust your standard recruitment processes and to develop customised employment as well.

For customised employment, you engage with people who have access needs to understand their capability, then develop real jobs around that capability.

5. If your organisation is comfortable with diversity...

For example, you might find that a person can fill all the requirements of a particular job except driving. You would move the driving work from the role, and replace it with other tasks to ensure the person has a full workload they are capable of fulfilling.

6. Customised job design

Customised job design recognises that traditional recruitment practices do not work for many people with access needs, and can often be discriminatory.

You can try customised job design by working with one or more disability service providers to identify the abilities of people looking for work who would like to work in your organisation. Then, working with the candidates, and the disability service provider you develop a role around their abilities.

6. Customised job design

Customised job design is not about ‘sheltered’ work. The aim is to create a full workload for which the candidate will be properly remunerated.

Candidates for customised job design will normally have a government funded service provider supporting them who will assist you to ensure that appropriate accommodations have been made and any issues addressed over the first year.

6. Customised job design

Customised design will allow you to find a full workload that the new employee can do well.

Although the process requires the parties to work together to specify the role, the effort can deliver a satisfied, productive, long-term employee.

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7. Becoming receptive to accessibility and inclusion

If you are seeking to recruit more people with access needs, you can treat that also as an opportunity to develop a more receptive diversity culture in your organisation.

You want your success rate in employing people with access needs to be at least as high as your overall recruitment success rate, or you will inadvertently reinforce negative stereotypes.

7. Becoming receptive to accessibility and inclusion

Firstly, you should ensure that any accommodations required are provided in a timely way.

Having a new employee unproductive because, for example, they can’t access work materials is bad for their productivity and morale, and also undermines them with the team.

7. Becoming receptive to accessibility and inclusion

Secondly, if you take opportunities to actively bring the new hire onto the team you can avoid some of the issues caused by people feeling awkward or less confident around accessibility needs.

7. Becoming receptive to accessibility and inclusion

For people with visible disabilities actions may include explaining accommodations to existing staff up front (e.g. What is the plan for the wheelchair when the firm alarm sounds), and helping people to adjust to the needs of new employees (eg: identifying yourself when you enter the room that the blind employee is in).

8. Confidentiality and Privacy Rights

Be aware that applicants are not required to disclose that they have a disability during the application process; employers are not permitted to ask if candidates have a disability or its nature and extent.

Applicants do not need to indicate that they may need an accommodation in order to do the job, but employers are free to ask candidates to advise them about accommodations needed in the recruitment process.

8. Confidentiality and Privacy Rights

Always ensure privacy is protected when people disclose accessibility needs. Speak with the candidate or employee about this and ensure their wishes are followed in regards to disclosing to others within the organisation. For example a person with experience of mental health challenges may want their direct manager to know but not the whole team.

8. Confidentiality and Privacy Rights

Requesting medical documentation is allowed only after a candidate has disclosed, a conditional offer has been made, and when the nature of the functional limitation or need for the accommodation is not obvious.

Limit the nature of the medical information collected to specific information about the functional limitation, how it impacts the ability to perform essential job functions, and what can be done to accommodate the limitation. 

8. Confidentiality and Privacy Rights

The candidate has the same privacy rights as any employee. Keep the collected information confidential and separate from the applicant/employee’s personnel file, unless they ask to have it recorded there.

Questions

For each of the following 5 questions, select the answer you think fits best.

Question 1

Unconscious bias is:

  1. A problem for organisations, but not for individuals
  2. Usually about racism
  3. Something we are all susceptible to
  4. Quite rare, but very unfair when it happens

Question 1 - Answer

Unconscious bias is:

3. Something we are all susceptible to

We all have unconscious biases, which can be about any subject. These biases, when they are about our attitudes to people with access needs, can cause us to discriminate against them without realizing we are doing so.

Question 2

Having proactive policies for hiring people with access needs is a good idea because:

  1. They deserve preferential treatment.
  2. They are a pool of over 20% of the workforce who will mostly not be available to you unless you become more receptive to them
  3. People with access needs are going to need a lot more help to get jobs because of their health issues. Good firms should therefore “step up”.
  4. All of the above

Question 2 - Answer

Having proactive policies for hiring people with access needs is a good idea because:

2. They are a pool of over 20% of the workforce who will mostly not be available to you unless you become more receptive to them

People with access needs are a large untapped talent pool. Having an access need does not make them more deserving; nor does it mean they will have more health issues. These are simply a group of people who can add value like any other employee if given a chance.

Question 3

Customised job design:

  1. Benefits the company because the new employee can be given a full workload
  2. Benefits the person with access needs because it focuses on finding ways they can add real value
  3. Can require quite a lot of dialogue between the company, the candidate, and potentially a service provider
  4. All of the above

Question 3 - Answer

When a new employee with an access need starts work:

4. All of the above

Customised job design does require effort by the company and the employee to find the right mix of work. The benefit for each is that the employee is likely to end up with a solid workload that they are able to do. The employee will appreciate the company making the accommodation in the role description.

Question 4

Policies which favour hiring people with access needs are:

  1. Unnecessary. Policies should be the same for everyone. We should neither favour any group nor discriminate against them.
  2. Risky. They create a whole series of liabilities that the company will have to deal with
  3. Great marketing. They are our full commitment to diversity
  4. Important. They balance the unconscious bias and cultural discrimination present in the organisation

Question 4 - Answer

Policies which favour hiring people with access needs are:

4. Important. They balance the unconscious bias and cultural discrimination present in the organisation

If we are to address our failure to employ people with access needs we have to recognize that problems lie in our unconscious biases and our discriminatory culture. Favouring people with access needs is a necessary counterbalance to these issues. Changing policies to redress the balance is an important step, and it can be ‘great marketing’. But changing the policies is just a first step. Good policies will create obligations for employing managers to behave appropriately, but will actually reduce liability as the company will have demonstrated its intent to be inclusive.

Question 5

Confidentiality and privacy obligations toward people with access needs are:

  1. Much greater than for other staff. Their access need may make them more sensitive to privacy issues; so we need to more carefully protect their rights
  2. Important; but must be balanced against the company’s right to ensure they don’t hire someone with access needs if they don’t wish to do so
  3. The same as for all employees. Access needs are just a specific example of a privacy/confidentiality issue that should be respected
  4. A special case. You need to treat each individual applicant on their merits and offer them the confidentiality justified by their access need

Question 5 - Answer

Confidentiality and privacy obligations toward people with access needs are:

3. The same as for all employees. Access needs are just a specific example of a privacy/confidentiality issue that should be respected

Confidentiality and privacy issues for people with access needs should be treated with exactly the same respect as the needs of other staff. Just as for other staff, you have the right to enquire about any issue which you have reason to believe may affect their ability to perform the role. You do not have the right to refuse a candidate who is the most able to do the job just because they have an access need.

If you have any questions or need additional support, please get in touch!

Email: info@accessibilitytick.nz

Phone: 09 242 0511

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