Millions of Americans have disabilities. Physical disabilities sometimes make it difficult for people to find work, so as a business owner, you must think about how to make your company more inclusive. Here are five tips to help make your company an appealing place for people with disabilities to work.
Create a Website that Works with Assistive Devices
Certain disabilities make it difficult for people to interact with web pages. Blind people need the assistance of screen readers, and deaf people are unable to hear videos and need subtitles to understand the content. Others have trouble understanding text if it is written in bright colors or plastered on a bold background.
You can make a few small changes to your website to make it accessible to everyone. Use a straightforward layout with high contrast, and avoid using brightly-colored fonts. Make sure your copy is organized with informative headers. Add subtitles to all of your video content. One study found that only 2% of websites are fully accessible, so making changes to yours is an incentive for disabled employees.
Physical impairments make it difficult for some people to access various areas of their workspace. Mental and emotional overload can also affect disabled employees and cause them to be less productive if they don't get breaks. You don't have to go out of your way to accommodate every person, because it isn't possible to meet every single need each of your employees has. You can, however, make reasonable accommodations that make your building more accessible.
Install an elevator so people have an alternative to stairs. Give employees a five-minute break every hour, and provide a quiet space where your workers can relax and rejuvenate. Ask your workers what you can do to make the workplace accommodating and boost their productivity.
Create a Positive Work Environment
Employees thrive when they feel as if they are a valuable part of a team. Focus on creating a positive work culture that inspires workers to be productive. Remove toxic people from your company and offer team-building exercises to strengthen the bond between your employees.
Change Your Recruiting Tactics
You may have good intentions by seeking to hire disabled people, but your efforts won't be fruitful if your actions are unintentionally ableist. It's important to change your hiring process and show disabled candidates that you are committed to having an inclusive culture. Make sure your ads indicate that disabled candidates are welcome to apply, and be willing to change the interview process to accommodate disabilities.
One smart tip for recruiting is to have multiple versions of your materials so you can appeal to multiple candidates. For instance, you may want to have one recruiting PDF that accommodates sight disabilities. You may also create unique PDF files that provide information on the specific benefits you offer to various groups of people. For example, you advertise that you have widened doorways to accommodate wheelchairs in one version, while another promotes your use of closed captioning software across internal communications. Create a template for your recruiting material and then go with a PDF tool to edit these documents as needed.
One way to broaden your workforce is to offer internships. Many interns end up starting careers with the companies they work with initially, so making your business an internship possibility is a good way to appeal to disabled candidates. Highlight your passion for inclusion and diversity by hiring disabled interns and seeing what talent they bring to the table. Of course, you need to make sure you accommodate disabilities with your internship rather than stigmatize them so that your company is viewed as an appealing place to work.
Just because people have disabilities does not mean that they don't have a lot to offer your business. If you use these tips, you can build an inclusive workplace that appeals to people with disabilities.
Join the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce to connect with resources and events that will help you build a thriving business in our beautiful community!