How to hunt for an inclusive employer

The world of work is changing. And I’m seeing that like my own priorities, candidates’ priorities have changed too. My last job search was vastly different from previous searches. I wasn’t looking for a specific role or a specific salary. The hours I worked weren’t as important. Or the location. I was looking for an inclusive employer with values aligned to my own. And a role that would enable me to have social impact. No easy feat!

Many of today’s candidates want flexibility, a positive culture, and work environment. And like me, they look for organisations with strong values. If you have a disability, a long-term health condition or carer responsibilities, these matter even more. So how do you hunt out a forward-thinking, inclusive employer? Here are a few of the things to consider…

Woman working on a computer

1) Their values are visible throughout the organisation

A website is a great place to start. Can you find their values? Is their website accessible? Do they show customers and candidates evidence of their ethics, values, and priorities? In contacts with the organisation, how are you treated? If you call up and ask about accessibility, what response do you receive?

2) They don’t just listen to their employees; they act too

Most employees want flexibility in their work. Has this been put into place or is it still being talked about? Do they advertise their vacancies as flexible? Do they have remote vacancies? Do they have employee networks? Are sickness and annual leave policies the legal minimum. Or is staff wellbeing prioritised?

3) It’s not just lip service; they commit to inclusion

Look for signs of positive action towards inclusion. How do they choose to attract candidates? Via mainstream, traditional strategies only? Do they put money and resources behind inclusion? Or is inclusion limited to a paragraph on their website? Do they purposefully target underrepresented groups to increase diversity? Look at their job adverts. Are they open to all or do they only appeal to a few? Are their values clear? Here’s a great example from Guidant Global of what to look for in a job advert.

In a nutshell, you’ll need to become something of a detective to find an organisation that walks the walk. But the result is worth it and for many, it can be life changing.

To keep in the loop about opportunities for candidates email info@evenbreak.co.uk or visit www.evenbreak.co.uk

Spotting strengths and latent skills – why it matters

Today I learned that my five-year-old is a talented actress. I’d had no idea. It’s easy to focus on the things she needs help with instead. I know she struggles to ride a bike. I know she doesn’t like being told what to do. I had been simply enjoying her strengths rather than nurturing them. But now this strength has been spotted, she’s playing Lady Capulet. And in doing so, she lights up. Her confidence has soared. She’s a much happier child. Thank you, William Shakespeare!

As adults, I think we forget to pay attention to the things we’re good at. It’s much easier to focus on the negatives. And our confidence responds accordingly. Many of us can rattle off our positive attributes for CVs and interviews. But I’m not sure we pay much attention to them or sculpt our work days accordingly. Do we ever address the organizational or environmental aspects of our work? Two of the factors that affect our wellbeing and productivity…

Picture shows the words 'be smart' and a picture of a lightbulbWhat impacts on your work day?

Last week (as a nice change) I was given a computer game to play. Job Fit is a work simulation game. It shows you how you would perform in a job and flags up areas for improvement.  In a nutshell, it teases out strengths and lagging skills. But in a fun way! With my nursing background, it was no surprise that I’m good at relating to people. But it also revealed that interruptions stress me. The constant ringing of a telephone in the game set me on edge. So much so that I almost stopped playing… Looking back, I remembered roles where noise massively affected my wellbeing. But at the time I had no understanding of this and no strategies to manage it.

So we need to pay attention. What makes you happier? Which aspects of your work do you focus on and enjoy? What part of your job description would you do for free? And can you build more of this into your role?

 

What do you find hard? Do you need to develop this area? Or can you focus on your strengths instead? How does your environment affect you? If like me, noise is a stressor, can you work with one earphone in? Turn off your phone when you need to focus? Would you be better working remotely? Or do you thrive on the buzz of a busy office?

Take the time to notice. Look for the people that pay attention. Find out your strengths and latent skills. And ask for what you need. Be Lady Capulet!

 

* As a loyalty perk, registered Evenbreak candidates can play Job Fit for free. Register here and you’ll receive the link in our newsletter.

Get that job – Ask for what you need!

"Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it" (Maya Angelou)
“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it” (Maya Angelou)

Finding suitable work can be a challenge for most people, but for disabled people there are often additional aspects to be considered, both in terms of accessing the recruitment process on an equal basis, and also in terms of the nature of the role itself. Asking for what you want or need is important.

There are a number of things that disabled candidates are allowed to ask for. In law (Equality Act 2010), employers must provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ requested by disabled applicants which will help them access the recruitment process. The definition of ‘reasonable’ is open to interpretation (and case law), but can include a range of measures, including (depending on circumstances):

  • A British Sign Language interpreter;
  • Additional time to answer questions;
  • Relevant assistive technology for assessment tests;
  • An accessible venue for interviews;
  • Prior knowledge of the type of questions to be asked.

Don’t be afraid to ask for relevant adjustments you need. If you don’t, you may be less able to demonstrate your true abilities. For example, if you would normally use assistive technology to use a computer in the workplace, this should be provided if you are given a test on a computer at interview.

When you are offered a job, you can then request any reasonable adjustments you require to carry out the job. Access to Work support can include:

  • adaptations to the equipment you use
  • special equipment or software
  • British Sign Language interpreters and video relay service support, lip speakers or note takers
  • adaptations to your vehicle so you can get to work
  • taxi fares to work or a support worker if you cannot use public transport
  • a support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace
  • a support service if you have a mental health condition
  • disability awareness training for your colleagues
  • the cost of moving your equipment if you change location or job

In addition to the ‘standard’ reasonable adjustments, it may be you have requirements for a particular way of working. Many disabled people would prefer to work part time, or flexible hours, or to work from home for all or part of the time. When looking for jobs, most are still advertised as full time. For some (few) roles, one full time person may be ideal, but for many roles, those hours and/or tasks could be divided between two or more people. Or it may be that some or all of the role could be carried out remotely.

If you find a role that you know you could do, and that you like the look of, there is nothing to stop you asking if the role could be considered for job share, reduced hours, remote or flexible working. The absolute worst that can happen is that they say no – nothing is lost. And it brings your skills to their attention should other roles be available now or in the future. Quite often, however, the employer may well be willing to look at alternative working patterns, especially if you have the skills they need.

Ask for what you need – after all, what do you have to lose?

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