Hiring People with Disabilities: Prepare your Workplace

  • You’ve decided to hire a person with disabilities!  You’ve successfully completed the recruiting, interviewing and hiring process and have found a candidate that is suitable for your position.  Now it’s time to prepare your workplace.

    Prepare your Staff

    Before the person you’ve hired comes in for their first day of work, prepare your staff.  Explain the individuals circumstances and why they were chosen for the position.  Be positive about the new employee, how they will benefit the team, what they can do and address the staff’s questions in a frank manner.  If anyone on your staff feels uncomfortable about how to communicate or work with the individual arrange specific training for them.

    Preparing Accommodations

    What are accommodations?  Most workers need an accommodation.  It could be an adjustment to a policy, procedure or work environment that helps them get the job done.  People with disabilties are no exception and most accommodation require little or no coast.

    In the interview you will have already discussed what the individual requires for special accommodations.  Sometimes after the new employee starts the job and begins to learn the specific job that a full understand of what accommodations will required happens.

    Examples of Accommodations:

    Advertising job vacancies in alternative formats, in addition to print, or providing ads to organizations serving people with disabilities.

    Adjusting work schedules to give a person with a mental illness time off for therapy appointments.

    Providing a sign language interpreter for an employee with a hearing disability to facilitate that person’s participation in important meetings.

    Raising a desk to accommodate a wheelchair.

    Providing disability training to staff prior to hiring.

    There are many advances in technology that allow people with disabilities to do many jobs.  Software such as JAWS Screen Reading or devices like larger monitors and single hand keyboards have made working at a desk possible for many individuals who might not have been able to before.  Sometimes people with disabilities will bring their own assistive technology to the job.

    Often the biggest barrier people with disabilities have to overcome is negative stereotypes.