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Proven Strategies for Attracting and Retaining New Hires with Disabilities

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Having an inclusive workplace is essential for companies to reach their full potential. The good news is that there are a wealth of strategies employers can use to create an environment where people with disabilities feel welcome. Today, The Center for Independent Living of South Jersey takes a closer look at some structures, benefits, and incentives you can put in place to make your organization more appealing to professionals with disabilities — and build a stronger workforce in the process.


Cultivate an Inclusive Culture


You must foster an inclusive culture to recruit and retain workers with disabilities. Make sure you’re actively promoting diversity and inclusion, as well as providing resources like mentorships and special programs that can help integrate differently-abled workers into the workplace.


Setting up equitable policies around hiring, promotion, and compensation will also go a long way toward creating an environment where everyone feels respected and valued. You might be surprised how quickly your organization establishes a reputation for being a top place to work!


Make a Stellar Recruiting Document


Creating a recruiting document for new applicants is an excellent way to communicate your company's commitment to inclusivity, particularly to candidates with disabilities. This document should highlight why your company is an attractive place for them to work and detail the steps you are taking to foster an inclusive culture.


If the PDF version of this document becomes large due to numerous images and detailed content, it may be challenging to distribute via email or other online platforms. To address this, you can compress the PDF file to reduce its size, making it easier to send. It’s important to use a reliable PDF compressor tool that preserves the quality and integrity of images, fonts, and other content in the document. For more information on effective PDF compression tools, click here.


Provide Continuing Education Opportunities


Continuing education opportunities are always a hit among employees, but they can be especially meaningful to those with disabilities who otherwise might not have had access to higher education. Consider offering classes on financial stability or paying tuition fees for bachelor's degrees in business or other fields related to their positions (if applicable).


Each team member can excel with a bachelor degree while also strengthening the organization as a whole. And since they can study online, your employees won’t have to compromise their work or family responsibilities. By investing in continuing education, you show that you value the entire team’s growth and development, which can lead to increased loyalty among your employees with and without disabilities.


Make Your Website More Accessible


It’s crucial to have a website that’s accessible to people with different types of disabilities. Among other reasons, it shows that your company cares about accessibility from the very first moment they visit your site. Improving your website’s accessibility means:


●      Ensuring all images include accurate alt tags so screen readers can identify them correctly

●      Using larger fonts

●      Labeling form fields clearly

●      Providing multiple ways for users to navigate your site (e.g., mouse navigation, keyboard navigation, speech recognition, etc.)


Establishing these practices will show potential applicants that you care about their experience on your site from day one — and they will likely always remember it!


Establish Your Business With the State


If you want to hire employees who have disabilities, you must establish yourself as a legitimate business with the State by getting an employer identification number (EIN). This will give you access to various tax breaks explicitly meant for businesses that employ individuals with disabilities, such as exemption from Social Security taxes paid on wages earned by qualified employees (who work at least half-time in sheltered workshops).


An EIN also enables employers to claim tax credits when hiring eligible individuals through State-run programs like vocational rehabilitation programs (VRP). Such tax credits can help offset costs associated with recruiting new hires who have disabilities while also providing financial incentives for employers willing to invest in this worker population.


Making your company more appealing to new hires with disabilities requires both effort and intentionality on your part. Focus on creating an inclusive culture, fine-tuning your recruiting documents, paying for continuing education, and implementing the other ideas above. Diversifying your workforce will go a long way toward keeping your organization competitive, while also giving individuals with physical or mental impairment access to opportunities they otherwise may not receive. It’s a win-win situation!

Written by: Martin Block 

Center for Independent Living of South Jersey, Inc. (CILSJ), is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded over 30 years ago. A Center for Independent Living is an organization that encourages people with disabilities to make their own choices and to take more initiative and control over their lives. Visit our website to learn more!

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