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Accessible Onboarding

Ensure your organization’s onboarding processes are accessible and inclusive for employees with disabilities.

Onboarding is a critical time for new employees to learn about the organization, the work they will do, and the people with whom they will work. Fully accessible onboarding policies and processes help ensure employees with disabilities feel welcome within the organization from day one—and play a key role in fostering an inclusive workplace culture.

It is important to remember that accessibility extends beyond the physical environment. Physical accessibility is certainly essential to a functional work environment, but employers must also ensure technological accessibility. Maintaining an accessible technology infrastructure means making sure equipment, websites, software, and electronic tools and materials are accessible and compatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers and alternative input devices.

Learn more about accessible technology in the Be Tech Savvy: Accessible Information & Communication Technology segment of the Inclusion@Work Framework. The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) also provides a number of toolkits to assist employers in ensuring their technology infrastructure is accessible.

Ensuring employees are aware that they can request job accommodations, both during onboarding and at any other time afterwards, is also an integral part of accessible onboarding. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offers information on incorporating reasonable accommodation practices into onboarding processes.

During onboarding, all new employees need information about the organization’s benefits. This includes health insurance and retirement plans, flexible workplace benefits, leave policies, and wellness programs. Employers should provide links to accessible documents and online portals with information about these benefits, and contact information if an employee requires assistance. Potential employees may also want access to this information before accepting a job offer, so be sure to provide as much information in advance as possible.

Before Onboarding

Accessible onboarding starts before an employee’s first day on the job. Organizations should ensure that all new hires are made aware of reasonable accommodation policies and how to request accommodations. Be sure to speak with new hires about what they need to be successful before they begin work. For instance, after a job offer has been extended, the Human Resources representative could ask all new hires, “Do you need a reasonable accommodation?” This can help employees learn about accommodation processes and easily ask for accommodations.

Pre-onboarding processes that can assist employees with disabilities, and all employees, include:

The First Few Days

Welcoming new employees is a very important part of the onboarding experience. Here are some tips to get all employees off to a good start.

Be sure to inform employees, when sharing rules such as these, that they may request a reasonable accommodation if necessary, and provide information on how to do so.

Learning the Role

Most employees also need job-specific training. Be sure that all processes and materials are fully accessible. Strategies include:

Onboarding is a critical time for new employees to learn about the organization and its norms, the work assigned, and the people with whom they will work going forward. It is also a critical time for organizations to communicate their commitment to a disability-inclusive workplace culture. Offering support during this critical phase lays the groundwork for employee success and retention.

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