Accessibility: Expand Your Scope, Enhance Your Results

The value of diversity no longer needs to be debated. Studies have found time and time again that teams with diverse backgrounds generate more ideas, and lead more successful businesses. I am proud to work with clients who understand the value of diversity and who do not discriminate against any groups or characteristics when looking for new hires.

Most employers are now very good at asking candidates about disability and access needs, but some are still missing out on great people because they have not made their recruitment process accessible. Maximising the pool of people applying may require a serious beginning-to-end consideration of how your organisation recruits, and assessing how you can make it more accessible at every stage.

A job advert is the first place you may be inadvertently creating barriers. Think about where and how you’re advertising – are your online adverts screen-reader friendly? Is there a clear commitment in the wording to being equal opportunities employer? It’s also important to think about the actual method of application – are candidates forced to use a pre-set form system? Is it possible to offer alternatives? If you’re technologically limited in what you can alter in your job advert system, a simple step to help bring people in can be simply listing a point of contact who is there to help with accessibility issues.

The global Covid-19 pandemic has seen a huge increase in businesses allowing remote work, and with it, video interviews. This has been hugely beneficial for employers, who now have access to a vast number of highly talented and experienced people who would not have been able to attend an in-person interview or work in the office. It’s important for employers to stay aware of the benefits these avenues can continue to provide, even when they’re not necessary – considering applicants who can only interview via video and can only work from home will connect you to some fantastic professionals who otherwise would not be able to join your teams.

A lot of conversations about remote working and video interviews have focussed on reducing commutes and allowing professionals based far away from the company to join, but these are also crucial tools for increasing accessibility and unlocking game-changing talent for your business. Similarly, taking a more flexible approach to the hours worked or shift patterns available can make such a big difference for some candidates. Try thinking less in terms of “how many hours a week can this person work” towards “what can this person achieve – what hours will allow them to do so”.

Improving accessibility in your business begins with the hiring process. Making sure as many people as possible are both able to participate, and feel welcome to do so, is a positive for both candidates and clients.

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