This week kicks off National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to honor the many contributions people with disabilities make in their workplaces.

There are more than 7 million workers with a disability employed today – a post-pandemic high. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, these disabilities could be physical or mental impairments that impact one or more life activities.

Many small business owners and hiring managers don’t think much about the needs of disabled people in the hiring process. Being more inclusive when seeking candidates can make a huge difference, though, according to Kirstie Pickering, a journalist who contributes to the American Express OPEN blog.

In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we outline a few of her ideas for small businesses to be more inclusive of people with disabilities.

  1. Highlight the accommodations you can make. Not every person with a disability will request accommodations, but it’s still helpful to know what your business can provide. Pickering says all potential applicants should know what accommodations are available at every point in the hiring process.
  2. Improve accessibility in person and online. If your promo team works from an office, consider whether your parking areas, workspaces and restrooms are accessible to people with disabilities. Also consider whether your internal communication methods are accessible, Pickering says. For example, you might be able to use auto captioning on video calls or speech-to-text tools for voice messages.
  3. Invest in technology. When hiring remotely, Pickering says it’s important to check that the online platform you’re using is accessible. Things like audio and video captions may seem small, but they can have a major impact on making your promo business more accessible and appealing to disabled candidates. 
  4. Project a disability-positive image. Try posting your job opportunities with organizations that specialize in recruiting qualified candidates with disabilities. You could also work to establish relationships with disability-community organizations. This can help your company become known for being disability friendly.
  5. Use inclusive language in job descriptions. Pickering says this can make the difference in someone applying for your job or looking elsewhere. Take out any outdated content, eliminate any buzzwords and focus on the actual skills you’re seeking.

When searching for new talent for your promo company, make sure you’re not inadvertently excluding people with disabilities. By prioritizing accessible hiring, you can build a more diverse team and create a better experience for all employees.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Kirstie Pickering is a business journalist who contributes to the American Express OPEN blog.