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Diversity and Inclusion: Food for Thought

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Diversity and inclusion often refer exclusively to women, the LGBTQ+ community, etc., and these groups are important, valued, and certainly worthy of the recent attention they have received. Additionally, other groups and classes deserve equal recognition in hiring. For example, veterans and individuals with disabilities often deal with several barriers in employment that your organization can work to resolve. Often, disabilities are invisible, and it is difficult to know what accommodations and best practices to deploy in service of employees dealing with these disabilities. This week, we’ll be focusing on hiring veterans and applicants with disabilities to diversify your workforce. With unemployment the lowest, it has been since 1969, it is ever more important to tap into the talents of these often underrepresented individuals.

The Society of Human Resource Management’s Veterans at Work Program works to promote the value of skilled veterans to a civilian workplace. SHRM has partnered with human resource professionals across the county to launch this initiative, and it serves as a free resource for employers. If you would like to learn about hiring practices, workplace accommodations, and the transfer-ability of veterans’ skills to civilian employment opportunities, check out the program here. Completing the online program will allow you to attain a SHRM Veterans at Work certificate.

A financial incentive for employers to hire veterans comes as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. This credit is available to employers who hire individuals that consistently face barriers to employment – including veterans, ex-felons, and more.

As for individuals with disabilities, it starts with breaking the stigma surrounding hiring them. The best way to do this is to provide adequate training to hiring managers on how to interview these applicants, how to accommodate their transition to the organization, and how to ensure inclusion and open communication throughout their employment. Free resources for training can be found through JAN and EARN organizations.

The benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities are numerous. These employees are likely to remain with the company upon hiring, increasing workplace retention, decreasing turnover, and creating loyalty and stability in the workplace. Often, hiring folks with disabilities increases employee engagement and workplace inclusion creates a sound workplace culture, and attracts talent in this tight labor market. All these characteristics lead to higher workplace productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

Taking the time to train hiring managers and your leadership team on the importance of diversity and the benefits of hiring veterans and people with disabilities will ultimately create a sound culture in your organization. These groups are full of highly talented individuals waiting for the opportunity to contribute to the work that you do.

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