Overcoming bias in recruitment: A guide to inclusive hiring practices
Published on: 11 Sep, 2023
What Constitutes Inclusive Hiring?
Inclusive hiring is the practice of offering suitable roles to individuals with physical, mental, or intellectual challenges. It encompasses not just the act of hiring but extends to mentoring, supporting the hiring organization, and even counselling the family and support network of the hired individual. Understanding and accepting people’s disabilities is a prerequisite for building an inclusive workplace culture, and then one can implement inclusive hiring practice in place. One may even in today’s age and time still ponder as to why inclusive hiring is important. One may still not want to look at the bigger picture. This however is a discussion that involves you and me!
Why is inclusive hiring important?
Even though nearly 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, we continue to live in a world that looks at disability as an anomaly, something rare or atypical that is left to the margins of our imagination only, without any real or active involvement. This can also be seen in abundance in the widespread problem of bias against persons with disabilities in workplaces. The significance of inclusive hiring of individuals who are often labelled as "differently abled" or "physically" or "mentally" challenged, is glaringly evident even in the pervasive bias shown towards them in everyday interactions. Inclusive hiring is not just a matter of overcoming this deafening bias, but it involves creating an environment where these individuals can seamlessly integrate into society. It is the responsibility of the empowered majority to facilitate their comfortable assimilation.
Of course, it is encouraging to note that many responsible organizations are now providing meaningful jobs to differently abled individuals. Some are even crafting new positions specifically to accommodate them, fostering acceptance and appreciation for their unique capabilities and challenges. The goal is to empower these individuals to lead fulfilling lives and be proud contributors to their families, communities, and workplaces. It is worth noting that the challenges aren't exclusive to those with disabilities. Even so-called "normal" individuals encounter hurdles when coordinating with others, setting goals, and maintaining accountability.
How to have an Inclusive hiring process?
Inclusive hiring necessitates navigating these complexities while considering sensitivities, obligations, and organizational interests. The true benefit lies in the satisfaction derived from mentoring without apprehension, imparting knowledge selflessly, and yet, keeping the organization's mission in sight. This satisfaction transcends typical performance metrics, becoming a source of joy for mentors with every small success achieved by their mentees.
Establishing an inclusive recruitment process
This comes from within. True inclusivity must start at the top and permeate throughout the organization. It begins with a committed leadership team that propagates inclusivity at all levels. Managers and supervisors should adjust job descriptions to promote inclusivity, streamline processes for accessibility, and create an environment that's safe, navigable, and welcoming. Incorporating the organization's image, values, deliverables, and societal contributions are key considerations. HR's pivotal role involves fostering equilibrium in appointment, modifying job descriptions, and facilitating on boarding. Training programs aimed at promoting inclusive hiring can transform workers' mindsets. Small incentives, such as bonus points for learning sign language or Braille, can ignite enthusiasm. After all, how often do we see languages like these listed on CVs? HR also organizes training and sensitization initiatives for top management, managers, and supervisors, equipping them to counteract hiring biases. The end goal is to achieve an inclusive workforce, where diversity is celebrated without compromising on organizational objectives.
When interviewing people with disabilities, ensure that the interviewer is well versed with the nature and extent of disability and sensitive enough to accommodate the process of interaction within a broader sphere, without being biased or any pre conceived notions.
Another way to establish an inclusive process when it comes to hiring people with disabilities is to turn to and partner with an external organization, community-based NGO or specialists in this field for help.
Continued Dedication and Progress
Consistent implementation of these practices gradually paves the way for an inclusive hiring process and a compassionate workforce. This approach contributes to an empathetic hiring culture and makes the organization more humane. Ensuring seamless on boarding of challenged individuals involves having an in-house or outsourced facilitator who can provide emotional support and sensitize department heads to special needs. Building trust and mutual respect during the initial months is crucial for both parties. Even counselling and acclimatization of the family of people with special needs with the workplace can help foster a strong sense of trust and respect. In essence, fostering inclusive hiring practices requires commitment, education, and the genuine desire to create a workplace that values and supports every individual, regardless of their challenges.
What can we do?
In a world that often views disabilities as anomalies, the call for inclusive hiring resounds louder than ever. The pervasive bias against individuals with disabilities underscores the urgency of embracing inclusive practices. It’s not just about breaking down barriers; it’s about constructing bridges that result in a society where opportunities are equal and everyone thrives.
This is more than an invitation; it’s a provocation. The legacy of your organization is waiting to be defined, Will you be a voice for inclusion, or will you remain on the sidelines of change?