How to Make Your Hiring Practices Blind Inclusive
410,000 people aged 18-64 in the UK live with sight loss.
Meanwhile, more than one-third of blind and partially sighted people say that they ‘sometimes or frequently’ experience negative attitudes from the general public because of their sight loss. People of working age are more likely to say that they have been treated unfairly because of their sight loss.
It’s common knowledge by now that organisations with diverse workforces thrive – seeing improved culture, creativity, and being 35% more likely to have higher financial returns that their less diverse counterparts. It’s for these reasons that recruitment teams have been amplifying their efforts over the years to attract diverse candidates and ensure their hiring practices are inclusive.
To support this journey, we’ve compiled some key tips and resources to help your team guide their research and new practices.
UK law outlines that employers must not discriminate in the recruitment process which includes advertising, the application process, shortlisting, and interview. This includes but is not limited to:
- producing application forms in accessible formats.
- allowing candidates with sight loss some more time for tests included in the interview process, as well as the use of their adjustments.
- being aware of questions you cannot ask the candidate in interview – click here for further resources on this.
The Culture Question
A culture where people have access to educational resources on sight loss is a crucial first step, particularly those who will be interviewing candidates and giving the first impression of an organisation. The RNIB has a completely free e-Learning course for employment professionals aiming to learn more about sight loss. It can be done at your own pace and only takes 40 minutes to complete. Covering the crucial facts, common eye conditions, factors to consider when discussing jobs, and more, the course touches the key bases. The course is also CPD certified.
The majority of blind and partially sighted say that they feel that their sight loss has stopped them reaching their full potential at work. One RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) research participant stated that “Employers need to stop making assumptions based on what they think your ability to do something is based on your sight loss.”
This is why it’s crucial that your workplace culture goes beyond the first step of simple disability etiquette. Prioritising internal communications, awareness initiatives, and expert training are what is necessary to inform people and promote effective inclusion practices.
Collaborate with HR on Office Accessibility
If you’re hoping to bring candidates into your organisation’s office for interviews, and later onboarding, you’ll need to make sure all your boxes are ticked with respect to making the space accessible to those with sight loss.
Some physical accommodations your recruitment and HR teams could action on include:
- Clear Pathways & Unobstructed Walkways – to help candidates navigate the workplace safely and independently.
- Tactile Markings – examples include textured or contrasting flooring, handrails, or signage with Braille, helping to identify important areas within the workspace.
- Accessible Bathrooms – Ensuring your bathrooms are equipped with Braille signage, tactile indicators for controls, and accessible features such as grab bars and non-slip flooring, promotes independence and safety.
- Adjustable Lighting – Modifying lighting conditions, such as reducing glare or providing appropriate task lighting, can assist employees with low vision to optimize their visual capabilities.
- Ergonomic Flexibility – Ergonomic keyboards and mice with tactile features can also be helpful for maximising productivity and comfort.
- Accessible Meeting/Interview Spaces – Ensuring meeting rooms have sufficient lighting, appropriate acoustics, and accessible seating arrangements fosters effective communication for BVI employees.
- Organised Environment – Requiring common items be kept in standard locations and maintaining consistent layouts facilitates smooth navigation.
Combat prejudice with an ATS
Missing out on that perfect candidate due to bias is something recruiters are keen to avoid. An ATS can effectively redacts personal identifiable information (PII) from a CV such as removing names, emails and postal addresses, and actually goes a step further by removing an applicant’s career and education history timelines, images, universities and previous employers, allowing recruitment to focus on the skills a person has to offer.
Hireserve ATS offers a CV anonymisation tool. There are various options available to choose the level of anonymisation desired. Removing the PII data then provides a prejudice-free CV for hiring managers to consider for shortlisting. The hiring manager will only see the anonymised CV and as soon as a candidate is moved to the interview stage, the original CV will be released to the interviewing panel and the hiring manager.
An ATS is a simple way of helping reduce unconscious bias during the preliminary stages of the recruitment process. This will provide candidates with peace of mind that they are being selected based on an equal footing with other applicants and demonstrates a commitment to DEI by the hiring organisation.
Everyone works differently, and it’s these diverse perspectives and backgrounds which empower organisations to trailblaze and innovate. People are every company’s greatest asset, and so to bring in top talent, it’s only logical hat you need to show consideration and accommodation for those with disabilities, who are deserving of positive candidate experience.
If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested to learn how to make your hiring practices deaf inclusive.