A CREATIVE CSR STRATEGY: INVESTING IN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

October 10, 2016

 

Seeking the advice of a marketing or graphic design professional who can help you to create a visually compelling marketing campaign is a great starting point in building your brand. However, if your goal is to leave a more lasting impression, consider developing a CSR (corporate social responsibility) strategy that creates new work opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

 

Many employers include clauses that encourage people with disabilities to apply to positions in their organization. Basic obligations can be clearly stated in your recruitment policy. For instance, letting job applicants know that you will provide accommodation during the hiring process is one way to approach this. However, what some employers fail to realize is that people with disabilities often do not wish to disclose their personal needs in fear of losing a job offer or being stigmatized in the workplace once they have been recruited. In addition, although many employers claim that they offer "fair accommodation" to people with disabilities, the fact remains that certain jobs may not be suitable or accessible to candidates with severe physical or intellectual exceptionalities.  Therefore, organizations need to focus on creating work opportunities that suit various skills and abilities in order to attract and recruit a more diverse workforce reflective of our society.

 

When businesses create work opportunities for people with special needs, they establish a culture of inclusiveness and they, in turn, flourish. Not only will being responsive to the needs of a physically or intellectually diverse population help you to connect with a larger client base, it will be an opportunity for you to display unprecedented social responsibility and leadership and it will help to differentiate you from your competitors.

 

There are so many young and elderly employable adults with mild physical or intellectual disabilities who have so much to offer, with strengths that are frequently overlooked. Some people with intellectual disabilities suffer from social anxiety and get intimidated by face-to-face interviews. For candidates such as these, alternative forms of assessment can be offered. For instance, consider supplying candidates with situational interview questions ahead of time, so they can prepare thoughtful answers prior to the initial interview. Alternatively, you may offer skills training prior to an official observational assessment. In addition to offering diverse forms of skill assessments, it is important to keep an open mind, as the same disability can affect people in different ways. (Disabled World, 2016). Ultimately people with exceptionalities should be seen as valuable resources who are often more committed to their jobs because of the very few opportunities afforded to them. 

 

It is a sad reality that we still have a long way to go in terms of educating and creating more acceptance for people with disabilities in the workplace. It starts with a strategy and commitment and it's well worth the effort. Your return on investment: satisfied and empowered employees who feel a sense of purpose, a phenomenal business culture and reputation overall.

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