Disability Confident is a government-led movement encouraging employers to reconsider and reposition their thoughts on disability. It is a chance for employers to look at their practices and take action to improve their recruitment, retention and development of disabled people.
The Disability Confident Initiative covers three levels, Disability Confident Committed (Level 1), Disability Confident Employer (Level 2) and Disability Confident Leader (Level 3). As Corndel has just achieved Level 2 status, we’ll look at this in more depth.
There are tangible business advantages to becoming a Disability Confident employer, including:
- Realising the potential of disabled people: employers are missing out if they do not recognise the potential of disabled people. Like any other employee, disabled people have lots to offer your business, and their skills and experiences should be considered individually for each role or vacancy.
- Missing out on the spending power of disabled people: The spending power of disabled people and their families is significant, with estimates suggesting it is around £249bn a year. Good businesses should reflect their customer base in their workforce, and this will include disabled people.
- Reduced staff turnover: holding onto good staff cannot be underestimated. With government figures showing 83% of disabled people acquire their disability during their working lives, supporting your employees through this and keeping them in work should be a business priority.
- A wider talent pool of candidates: employing disabled people should not be seen as an act of charity. It is a sign your business is committed to inclusivity and finding the right person for the role based on their skills and experience.
At Corndel, we’re proud to have Disability Confident Employer status. We continually evolve our practices to ensure inclusivity and progressiveness. We’re actively making a change to develop what we do, including improvements to our recruitment processes, giving consistency and clarity to job descriptions and providing additional support to hiring managers. We also offer training on disability awareness to all staff. New staff now receive an EDI induction which introduces disability awareness and signposts further training.
There are some areas we’re seeing progress with our interview processes, now designed to be as accessible as possible with a named contact and plenty of flexibility. Similarly, we are committed to a supportive and inclusive culture of true flexibility where all colleagues have autonomy over their roles and can adjust their working practices to accommodate their needs.
Of course, we also recognise areas we can learn and strive to improve. We want to work on increasing the range of places our roles are advertised to actively encourage more applications from disabled people. We’re also looking to find ways to further support our clients and suppliers on their own Disability Confident journeys.
Corndel is working hard to create an environment where everyone can be their professional best. We are committed to providing an inclusive work environment and are pleased to share our Disability Confident Employer status with you.
Companies recognised with Disability Confident Employer status must conduct a self-assessment that tests your business against a set of statements about employing disabled people. There are two core themes in this self-assessment which we are exploring below.
Accreditation for a Disability Confident Employer lasts for three years.
Theme 1: Getting the right people for your business
The first theme for the self-assessment for Disability Confident Employer status is getting the right people for your business and includes these core actions:
- Actively attracting and recruiting disabled people to help fill your opportunities
- Offering a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process
- Giving interviews to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the job
- Being flexible when assessing people so disabled applicants have the best opportunity to show they can do the job
- Proactively offer and make reasonable adjustments as required
- Encouraging your suppliers to be Disability Confident
- Ensuring employees have disability equality awareness
They meet the above core actions. There are also several specific activities to consider to meet the above actions, including:
- Providing work experience
- Providing work trials
- Providing paid employment
- Providing apprenticeships and traineeships
- Providing paid or supported internships
- Advertising vacancies through organisations and media aimed at disabled people
- Engaging with Jobcentre Plus or local disabled people’s user-led organisations (DPULOs) to access support when required
- Providing an environment that is inclusive and accessible
- Offering other innovative and effective approaches to encourage disabled people to apply for opportunities
Employers that want to achieve Disability Confident Employer status need to show they’re focused on the core actions and are performing appropriately with the actions in mind.
Theme 2: Keeping and developing your people
The second theme for the self-assessment for Disability Confident Employer status is keeping and developing your people, focusing on retaining and developing disabled employees. It focuses on these core actions:
- Promoting a culture of being Disability Confident
- Supporting employees to manage their disabilities
- Ensuring there are no barriers to the development and progression of disabled staff
- Ensuring managers are aware of how they can support staff who are sick or absent from work
- Valuing and listening to feedback from disabled staff
- Reviewing the Disability Confident Employer self-assessment regularly
These core actions are further supported by activities to meet each one, including:
- Providing mentoring, coaching, and buddying for staff
- Including disability awareness equality training in the induction process
- Providing staff with information and advice on mental health conditions
- Providing occupational health services if required
- Identifying and sharing good practices in supporting disabled people
- Providing human resource managers with specific Disability Confident training