Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to attracting, hiring and retaining individuals with disabilities (IWD), which is an important component of VCU’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity. VCU recognizes that IWD brings an extraordinary array of skills and training to the workplace. VCU is dedicated to being an employer of choice for IWD. Important information, myths, and resources provided below are intended to help departments understand the value of hiring IWD, as well as how and where to recruit IWD. Some content was adapted from the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management.
In a world of the common, we are the UNCOMMON. That's because we do things others can't – or won't, like ensuring individuals with disabilities are treated fairly in the hiring process.
Hiring and retaining individuals with a disability
The MAP method
Best practices for recruiting and retaining people with disabilities:
Market your career opportunities or agency
- Get Involved with Disability Inclusion programs and services
- Provide disability-friendly job postings and interviews
- Host or attend career fairs or conferences dedicated to people with disabilities
Accommodate and be flexible
- Facilitate a disability-friendly workplace culture
- Evaluate facility, workspace, and website accessibility
- Promote interactive discussions with candidates and employees regarding accommodation needs
Plan for success
- Establish and promote workplace mentoring and job shadowing opportunities
- Educate and inform managers and employees on processes for requesting and determining accommodations
Importance of diversity, inclusion and equity
- Supports VCU’s Strategic Plan: Quest 2025 and one of the core values, “Diversity and inclusion: Ensuring a climate of mutual trust and respect where individuals of different cultural backgrounds, identities, abilities and life experiences are embraced, engaged and empowered to drive excellence and success”
- (TalentLyft Article) Employees in a company with higher workplace diversity will have access to a variety of different perspectives, which is highly beneficial when it comes to planning and executing a business strategy.
- People with different backgrounds tend to have different experiences and thus different perspectives. Exposure to a variety of different perspectives and views leads to higher creativity.
- Diversity, inclusion and equity in the workplace cause all employees to feel accepted and valued. When employees feel accepted and valued, they are also happier in their workplace and stay longer with a company. As a result, companies with greater diversity in the workplace have lower turnover rates.
- For information about diversity, inclusion and equity at VCU, visit inclusive.vcu.edu.
Benefits of hiring individuals with a disability
- According to the 2017 Disability Statistics Annual Report from the Institute on Disability, nearly 1 in 8 people in the U.S. has a disability, and that number is rising annually
- Companies that succeed in incorporating candidates with disabilities have seen 28 percent higher revenues and two times higher net income, according to an Accenture 2018 white paper on accessibility. (Also from the article: Net income was two times more, and profit margins were higher by 30 percent. Additionally, the Department of Labor found that employers who embraced disability saw a 90 percent increase in employee retention.)
- Workplace Initiative, a network of companies, nonprofits and government agencies working to remove barriers for those with disabilities, reports that those companies also experienced reduced turnover, lower recruiting costs, increased productivity and improved customer outreach.
- (Workplace Initiative) People with disabilities represent a significant talent pool. In the U.S. alone, there are over 42 million people with disabilities. And a recent study by the Kessler Foundation found that more than 68 percent of people with disabilities are striving to work.
- (Business.com Article) Aside from the financial and economic gains, hiring people with disabilities has a positive effect on factors such as absenteeism and motivation. The Accenture study highlights six main areas of "inclusion incentives" – increased innovation, improved shareholder value, improved productivity, access to the supplier ecosystem, improved market share and enhanced reputation.
- Individuals with disabilities can bring innovative thinking, a unique perspective and other talents that can help businesses be more productive and competitive
- (Business.com Article) For companies to be truly successful in hiring a diverse workforce, they need to look at it as embracing the advantages of having a group of people with varying abilities, skills and intelligences, rather than compliance or perceived obligation.
- People with disabilities can bring success, diversity and increased motivation to the workplace, but they are still fighting against decades of stigma and discrimination.