“Companies are often held back by a perception that recruiting people with disabilities is too difficult and costly,” says Jill Miller, in a special report in the Financial Times. Jill Miller is the Diversity and inclusion adviser at the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. “However, a lot of the ‘reasonable adjustments’ are low-cost and relatively easy to implement.”
“The training of managers,” she adds,” involves ensuring they do not make assumptions and apply unfair stereotypes. But training should also aim to give managers “practical tools and the confidence to make adjustments.”
A further challenge is attracting people with disabilities in the first place. “We believe it’s key to show people with disabilities that they can ask for adjustments to the [recruitment] process if they need it,” says Conway Kosi, Chair of a Diversity and Inclusion Council for Fujitsu. “We proactively contact all shortlisted applicants to ask if they would benefit from adjustments to the interview or assessment process.” Other multinationals are actively targeting certain groups with disabilities. For example, Microsoft has a hiring programme through which the company identifies and trains people with autism. Many say that “neurodiversity” is the next big frontier when it comes to inclusive employment policies.
Companies can also offer support in other ways too. There is a large body of informal knowledge that can be shared. People with disabilities “have to employ workarounds frequently and that’s a massive cache of information that can be shared. Assistive technology is also playing a large part. Smartphones, in their more recent iterations, have been a real boost as most now come with built-in accessibility support.”
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