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How to ensure recruitment process are barrier-free

23rd Aug 2018
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According to official figures, there were an estimated 3.7 million people of working age with disabilities in employment in the first quarter of 2018, representing an employment rate of 50.7%. The employment rate for people without disabilities, meanwhile, was 81.1%.

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While some disabled people are not in a position to work, much of this disparity can be attributed to the fact that individuals with disabilities can struggle to secure employment. The sad fact is that, while the majority of organisations understand the value of diverse workforces, and are open to hiring disabled people, historic recruitment processes can be a barrier to success.

Earlier this year, Sopra Steria Recruitment became an official partner of Business Disability Forum (BDF), but our relationship with the organisation goes back much further. Since 2016, we have sponsored BDF’s Charter for Disability-Smart Recruitment Service Providers, which provides valuable advice around ensuring that processes are conducive to barrier-free recruitment – and the benefits that a diverse workforce inevitably brings.    

Here’s what HR professionals must consider if they are to forge a culture of disability inclusion:

  1. Seek and welcome applicants with disabilities and long-term conditions.
  2. Review processes and methods to ensure they are attractive and barrier-free for groups of disabled people and individuals with disabilities or long-term conditions (this includes reviewing marketing and attraction strategies).
  3. Have processes to ensure adjustments or accommodations that are reasonable are made for individuals to enable them to effectively complete the service provider’s recruitment processes.
  4. Provide disability-specific training to all employees on their legal obligations as a supplier of recruitment services
  5. Check all job adverts to ensure they focus on output rather than process so that they do not indirectly discriminate against groups of people with disabilities.
  6. Equality analyse all assessments, questionnaires, and interview formats undertaken by the recruitment service provider to ensure they are inclusive and barrier-free.
  7. Support alternative ways of doing assessments and interviews (such as extended interviews or facilitating work trials).
  8. Engage with external organisations and schemes (such as Access to Work) to help further support candidates with disabilities or long-term conditions.
  9. Wherever possible, provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates on their performance during the recruitment process.
  10. Monitor the number of candidates who say they have a disability or long-term condition, assess how successful they are in securing work through the recruitment service-provider, and actively work to improve the attraction and selection of people with disabilities and long-term conditions.

While there are, of course, specialist job boards which focus exclusively on disabled talent, true success is only possible if each and every organisation is directly accessible to disabled candidates. By ensuring that their recruitment supply chains are confident on disability, HR leaders can guarantee that they are not missing out on the valuable skills that disabled people can bring to an organisation.

Recruitment partners that are Disability Confident have made a commitment to ensure that processes are inclusive and accessible, that they communicate vacancies to disparate talent pools, and that they will provide reasonable adjustments when requested.

It is worth noting that there are around 13.3 million disabled people in the UK, representing almost one in five of the population. Businesses which fail to engage with this valuable chunk of the workforce risk missing out on huge pool of talent – so choose your recruitment partners wisely.

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