Savvy employers are very aware there’s a skills shortage. They’re aware they need a wider talent pool to recruit from. And they’re aware that a diverse workforce is a good thing for business. So, what holds employers back from taking action? Changing the way they recruit? Tapping into new pools of talent?
Here are 3 of the excuses reasons we hear most often:
“So, I get that we’re missing out on 20% possible candidates. I get that employing disabled people equals profit. But how can someone in a wheelchair wait on tables?”
When a decision maker is presented with a new idea or a challenge to the ‘norm’, it is human nature to become risk averse. It’s rare for people to immediately see the possibilities being offered. Instead, most of us will come up with immediate, often flimsy, reasons as to why something won’t work. We are instinctive fault finders! Julia Galef, of the Center for Applied Rationality, suggests our brains are lazy. She argues that you should never accept your brain’s first answer to anything. And encourages decision makers to move past the initial ‘cognitive laziness’. Instead, take some time to develop a more considered or rational response.
1 in 6 of the working age population is disabled or has a long-term health condition. That’s an awful lot of people to ignore. And only 8% of disabled people in the UK are wheelchair users. Disabled people, like the rest of the population, are a diverse bunch of people with a diverse bunch of skills. Candidates will apply for jobs that they are able to do. Occasionally, candidates might need some adjustments. But most disabled candidates don’t require any. Or only adjustments with no cost attached. And for adjustments that do have a financial cost attached, the cost is usually very low. Access to work can help with any issues that arise. Accessibility and inclusion should be considered in an organisation regardless. It’s worth remembering that both benefit not just employees, but your customers too.
“We would love to employ more disabled people, but they just don’t apply”
Most employers describe themselves as equal opportunity employers. But this information is often found at the bottom of the job advert as a tacked-on paragraph to the main affair. No employer writes that they discriminate on a daily basis against disabled people. But sadly, the experience of disabled candidates tells us otherwise. Disabled people face many barriers. It begins with attitudes and perceptions, followed by inaccessible recruitment processes. And can culminate in a lack of accessibility in the workplace itself.
Many disabled candidates will only apply if they are confident of two things: Firstly, that their application will be considered seriously. Secondly, that they are sure they can fulfil the requirements of the role. To attract a diverse range of applicants, employers need to communicate their commitment to inclusion effectively.
“We understand that by ignoring the needs of disabled people our business is losing money and we want to become more inclusive, but we’re scared of getting it wrong”
It’s estimated that by ignoring the needs of disabled people, businesses are losing approximately £1.8 billion a month. Employing disabled people helps an organisation to increase its understanding of this market. Additionally, it raises disability awareness and develops a more inclusive culture in the workplace. Businesses that embrace inclusion tend to see a positive correlation between profitability, employee morale and engagement. The fear of using the ‘wrong’ terminology, offending somebody or making incorrect assumptions is understandable. And many of us will get things wrong. But we learn. And develop. And then the magic happens! Once a company overcomes their fear and starts seeing disabled employees as an asset, they open the doors to:
- Access to a wider talent pool
- A more loyal, engaged and productive workforce
- An increase in revenue, profits and market share
To talk through your excuses reasons for not employing disabled people, sign up to our best practice portal or advertise on our jobs board, please contact Janeh@evenbreak.co.uk
We promise she doesn’t bite.