Article | 29 Jul 2015

Becoming Disability Confident

Posted in Business, Top tips, Tools & Advice, Learning,

On 23rd June, Alice Weightman, Founder and MD of The Work Crowd and Hanson Search, along with the Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson MP and the diversity champions, TfL, met with the top HR and recruitment minds to discuss how to become disability confident and why it’s good for business.

From that discussion, Weightman’s experience launching The Work Crowd, and resources compiled by the Disability Confident campaign, we’ve put together some best practice guidance on how to make your business more inclusive and disability confident.

These tips will allow you to tap into a more diverse talent pool – and hold on to them.

1. Create more accessible job adverts Make job adverts accessible to all those who can do the job, whether or not they are disabled.

  • Use a font that is easy to read
  • Include in the person spec only the skills and experience that are vital to the job. Does your IT staff need to have “excellent interpersonal skills” or could someone on the Autism spectrum actually do the job better? You may cut out highly qualified people by asking for unnecessary qualifications.
  • Do not set criteria which automatically exclude certain groups.
  • Offer alternative formats for applications.

2. Adapt the way you conduct interviews Under the Equality Act 2010, you must not ask about a job applicant’s health until you have offered them a job, except to:

  • Find out whether they need any reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process
  • Find out if they can carry out an essential function of the job
  • Monitor whether applicants are disabled (must be anonymous)

During the interview, help them to perform to the best of their ability by:

  • Speaking directly to them rather than to a support worker
  • Telling them about any flexible working patterns that you may be able to offer
  • Making sure that you ask each applicant the same questions, whether or not they are disabled

3. Make reasonable adjustments Many reasonable adjustments require little or no cost:

  • Make changes to the working pattern
  • Provide training or mentoring
  • Make minor alterations to premises
  • Modify or acquire special equipment
  • Flexible interview formats: i.e., telephone, Skype/online

Be open to more flexible working situations. There are many tools now which enable you to engage with your workforce wherever they are based and ensure they are very much a part of your team. Allowing individuals to work when and where they are most productive can reap huge returns.

34% of freelancers have more than ten years of experience. This fast wealth of experience liberates businesses from the limits of their internal resource base and enabled the use of exceptional talent that would otherwise not be economically feasible to hire on employee contracts.

4. ‘Two Ticks’ Symbol Use the ‘Two Ticks’ symbol on adverts to show that you encourage applications from disabled people.

The Two Ticks symbol is only used in England, Scotland and Wales. You must be given permission by Jobcentre Plus to use the Two Ticks symbol.

5. Help with the extra costs disabled people face in work The government’s Access to Work scheme can help towards the costs of making reasonable adjustments and practical support for employees with a disability, health or mental health condition.

6. Read up on Disability Law It is against the law to treat someone less favourably than someone else because of a personal characteristic, such as being disabled.

Find out how to avoid discrimination against disabled people during the recruitment process and while they work for you.