While many recruiters struggle to recruit talented people for their company, there is a huge pool of untapped talent being overlooked. Around 26 million people in the U.S. have some form of disability, equivalent to one in five Americans. And while many people with disabilities, particularly those with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), haven’t been able to find a job, many are eager to work and are more than capable. By Jenny Holt.
A Positive Impact Across the Organization
People with disabilities are just as productive as any other employee. They are creative, talented and innovative and can have a positive impact on an organization’s morale, retention and corporate culture. When employers encourage applications from disabled people, it can help them to increase the number of high quality applicants wishing to work at the company. In fact a number of companies report that hiring people with autism helps to encourage creativity and innovation amongst their team.
Untapped Pool of Talent
Despite 60% of people with ASD having average or above average intelligence, a huge 85% remain unemployed. This is despite people with ASD often having considerable skills and making focused, methodical employees. But social difficulties can make it difficult for people with ASD to be successful in the hiring process.
When you begin your hiring process, you must make sure you are not discriminating against people with disabilities at any stage, from placing the advert to conducting the interviews. There should be no unnecessary criteria which automatically excludes certain people and only include the skills and experience which are essential for the job. Interviews should also be flexible and allow for any modifications needed to allow an individual to be considered for the job. It is important that you ask every applicant the same questions, regardless of whether they have a disability or not.
When employing people with disabilities, companies will need to comply with certain legal requirements. There should also be training and solid anti-bullying policies in place, so that management teams and workers are educated about disabilities and how they can support co-workers.
Assign a Mentor
Identify someone suitable within the organization who can act as a mentor or job coach to an employee with disabilities. They will support the employee until they become settled into their job and no longer need the same level of assistance. However, the mentor should be available to support the worker if there are changes to their work or the employee is the subject of disciplinary action.
Creating a Diverse Workforce
There is a huge opportunity to not just support an overlooked labor market, but to recruit loyal, intelligent, creative and talented workers who will bring diversity and innovation to your organization.