When you say the word disability, you can almost hear the sudden pause.
The questioning stares. You can feel the wondering eyes. Then you mention disability in the context of work and suddenly, more questions. Questions of confusion and concern. Questions of “ought to” and “how.” These are questions and feelings our guest Jane Hutton, Founder of EvenBreak knows well and shared with us her personal and professional story during our show last week.
Jane never wanted to be a recruiter but rather spent her time learning about hiring from the angle of diversity, inclusion and equality.
“When I spoke about disability there would be two different responses: one about why companies should employ a disabled person, the other recognising that this is a pool of talent we should be tapping into.”
The catch? Most recruiting audiences don’t know how or where to begin to recruit disabled people. It doesn’t help that very few of them ever apply. It’s a broken equation and one Jane set out to solve when she became disabled in 2004.
How To Recruit More Disabled People
Recruiting disabled people begins with better attraction programs and changing your recruiting sources. In order to attract such a diverse range in candidates, you need a really diverse range of attraction strategies. That’s more complicated than ever with disabled people because disabilities know no colour or background.
“If you think of disabled people, it’s a bunch of people from different races, genders and ages. You might have a woman of 18 or a veteran from Afghanistan with two limbs or someone of 50 who has been in business all their lives and had a stroke.”
There is also more of a need for education for recruiters. Even if the company has good intentions, recruiters get lost in the process and details. They need to seek out new resources, like Jane’s best practice portal for employers. These practical resources are made by disabled people and for employers to use in this area and they help with things like common disability etiquette and vocabulary.
Most importantly, recruiters have to get past the fear that disabled people won’t thrive in their company. Disabled people can be some of the most creative problems solvers because they face problems every day. “We have to think of a way to get around doing things that other people take for granted.”
Audra and I learned so much from Jane, I cannot recommend enough that you watch the whole episode and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get weekly updates and blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.