Most companies today will tell you they’ve fully incorporated accessibility requirements and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives into their hiring process, however, data indicates that organizations are falling short.
In 2022, the human resources and payroll company Remote surveyed 1,250 people and found that 56% of US respondents said they had experienced discrimination during the hiring process. For people with disabilities, discrimination may come inadvertently in the lack of a reasonable accommodation or inadequate access to hiring materials.
We believe most companies act in good faith and want to create a hiring and onboarding process that’s fair and inclusive. To accomplish this, we recommend opting for a holistic approach that weaves inclusivity and accessibility into every stage of hiring and onboarding. These three tips will help you develop that approach and seamlessly integrate accessibility into your HR processes. Let’s dive in.
1. Assess your hiring user experience
The first interaction an applicant has with your company is typically your website’s career page. If the applicant finds the page frustrating, hard to navigate or completely inaccessible, it reflects poorly on your company. Determine whether your site meets accessibility standards, including the applicant’s path through your careers page and online application process, by conducting an accessibility audit.
Next, review other steps the candidate may take through the hiring and onboarding process, from scheduling meetings and video interviews to submitting personal information and paperwork once hired.
For example, your hiring process requires a timed written test. Under the ADA, employers should make accommodations for those who need it and let applicants know it’s available. Any accommodations should be made available quickly, avoiding the chance they might be passed over while waiting for what they need.
Ideally, your company will test the website and the steps of the hiring process using testers that have various disabilities, either your own employees or using a third-party assessment to conduct the usability of the website or applications. This would include making sure the content on your web page can be read aloud correctly by screen reader software, that application links and forms are accessible, and that onboarding materials, like employee handbooks and PowerPoint presentations, are also accessible.
2. Fine tune job descriptions
Companies are becoming more aware of how language can discourage people with disabilities from applying for jobs, yet some of these terms have been so common in job applications for so long, they might go unnoticed or be overlooked during reviews.
For example, when your job description says, “must be able to lift 50 pounds,” it could result in people with physical disabilities not applying. Instead use, “moves equipment weighing up to 50 pounds.” Consider alternatives to language like “walk,” “stand,” “talks to,” or “visually inspect,” to include people who have physical disabilities.
In addition, it’s always helpful to reiterate your commitment to creating an inclusive workplace in a job description and that reasonable accommodations are available upon request.
3. Be open to feedback
New accessibility barriers are going to come up, even after updates and changes. Companies should create a mechanism that allows users to report any accessibility issues they encounter, such as a “report an accessibility issue” email link or form.
If people can report directly to your company and the people (or at least department) tasked with fixing the issues, you’ll be able to address accessibility issues faster for a better overall user experience.
4. Accessibility is an Iterative Process
Improving accessibility is an ongoing process that requires continued monitoring and evaluation. Embracing this state of change is a big step toward maturing your company’s accessibility program and will help your company create a more inclusive culture, and result in a better applicant and employee experience overall.
Looking for more information about improving accessibility at your company? Learn about the three B’s of accessibility.