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How to Brand Yourself as A Disability-Inclusive Employer During NDEAM and Beyond

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It's the perfect time for employers to assess their company’s commitment to disability inclusion – even beyond National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Branding your company as a disability-inclusive employer is a primary way to improve your company culture, increase retention, and foster opportunities for leadership. 

Here are six ways to brand yourself as a disability-inclusive employer:

  • Perform a disability-inclusivity audit of your company marketing. Do you know if your website and social media platforms are accessible to disability communities? Do your marketing materials, including stock photos, include authentic disability representation? If you aren’t considering how to make your marketing efforts disability inclusive, you’re missing out on the potential for significant business growth. Use authentic images of people with disabilities in your print, video, and web materials.  

  • Assess the accessibility of your job applications. Inaccessible job applications significantly hinder your reputation as a disability-inclusive employer. If your job applications aren’t accessible to job seekers with disabilities, you’re likely missing out on qualified candidates before they even reach you. When developing an accessible application process, focus on the following:
      • Include an accommodation statement on recruitment material that states accommodations can be provided upon request, along with contact info on how to obtain accommodations.
      • Avoid listing job requirements that aren’t essential to the position. Desirable qualifications, such as requiring the “ability to bend, lift, push at least 50 lbs,” or “type 50 wpm” can discourage otherwise qualified candidates from applying.
      • Be wary of artificial intelligence-based job screener software, such as facial recognition apps, conversational agents, and applicant tracking systems. These can be discriminatory towards applicants with disabilities.

  • Invest in training and development. It’s important to ensure all employees understand the importance of fostering an inclusive workplace. Even if HR and executive leadership are supportive of disability inclusion, your efforts will only be effective if you have buy-in at all levels. Consider mandatory training on various topics related to inclusion, including disability etiquette, reasonable accommodations, and unconscious bias. Furthermore, your current employees who have disclosed they have disabilities deserve investment in their professional development. Think through what opportunities these employees have for advancement into positions of leadership.

  • Prioritize accommodations for existing employees – Just as it’s important to make sure your company’s external marketing efforts and job applications are accessible, employers who want to be deemed disability-inclusive should also have a seamless internal reasonable accommodation process. This means determining how and when accommodation requests will be reviewed and implemented and providing a method for resolving disputes.
    • Keep in mind that accommodations should always be determined in communication with the employee requesting them rather than making decisions without discussion. Employees will already know what will be most beneficial to help them perform their jobs well.

  • Partner with disability-focused organizations – One of the commonly reported barriers to disability-inclusive hiring is finding qualified job candidates. Often engaging directly with people with disabilities can help provide understanding about potential job opportunities they’d not previously considered. Making this effort to engage with disability-serving organizations is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to including people with disabilities in your workplace. 


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