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Inclusive Branding and Messaging

Communicate a commitment to inclusion across all of your recruitment materials.

Every organization working to build a workplace welcoming of the skills and talents of people with disabilities needs positive, inclusive messaging. Inclusive words and images go a long way to communicating your commitment to disability inclusion, and should be featured in all recruitment materials, from online career pages to individual job descriptions.

Online Outreach and Messaging

Organizations can take a number of steps to express a commitment to disability inclusion, even before an employee is hired. This helps brand an organization as an inclusive and welcoming employer.

EARN conducted research to uncover effective strategies for online recruitment and outreach and, based on the findings, developed several resources to help employers understand best practices.  Visit Putting Research into Practice: Online Outreach Strategies for Attracting Job Seekers with Disabilities and Online Recruitment of and Outreach to People with Disabilities: Research Based Practices to learn more. 

EARN’s research also identified several key aspects of messaging that were impactful when assessing an organization’s disability inclusiveness. These include:

  • Spotlighting messaging to veterans and people with disabilities on career pages.
  • Highlighting organizational characteristics, like corporate social responsibility initiatives.
  • Including explicit statements about the value of inclusion and diversity.
  • Promoting options for flexible work, such as remote/virtual work and flexible hours.
  • Providing closed captioning for all recruiting videos and media content.

Learn more in EARN’s Company Website Disability Inclusion Messaging: Observations of Job Seekers with Disabilities. You can also learn more about effective messaging in the Communicate: External & Internal Communication of Company Policies & Practices segment of our Inclusion@Work Framework

A key component of inclusive messaging at the recruitment stage is ensuring potential applicants know how to request an accommodation during the application process. Include this information on all career pages and job announcements. Remember, too, to develop inclusive job descriptions that focus on the essential functions of the job.

Tailoring Recruiting Communications

Some organizations want to specific groups of candidates with disabilities, or candidates with specific types of disabilities. Such situations call for tailored recruitment messaging. For example, veterans, including those with service-connected disabilities, are a ready source of qualified, committed job candidates with transferable skills that have been tried and tested in the real world. Learn more about why and how to recruit disabled veterans

Today, many employers are designing and implementing programs to increase hiring for neurodiverse people, including “Autism at Work” programs. EARN’s Neurodiversity in the Workplace webpage provides additional information, including examples of such programs in action. The Neurodiversity Inclusion: Checklist for Organizational Success can assist in scaling such programs for use in organizations of different sizes. 

If you want to develop tailored messaging or programs, you need to understand the parameters around taking disability into account during the pre-employment stage. The ADA prohibits disability-related inquiries except as part of an affirmative action program designed to benefit people with disabilities.

Phases of Employment

Recruit Hire Retain Advance

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