Ensuring your start-up is accessible to everyone

Hiring a diverse pool of employees is both a necessity and a competitive advantage for your start-up.

Ensuring Your Start-Up is Accessible to Everyone

By guest author, Betty Vaughan,
Creator and Owner of Nine to Thrive.

As workplaces become more diverse, so too does the pool of potential hires. Recruiting and hiring a diverse pool of employees is both a necessity and a competitive advantage. If you’re looking to hire more people of various abilities and cultures, then you have plenty of options.

While all of your employees bring value to your business, some people can help you achieve your company’s unique mission in ways other employees can’t. Here, we present some incentives that can help you create accessible hiring practices.

Different Workers with Different Needs

When thinking about how people with disabilities can help your company, consider how an employee’s disability can affect their work and how you can provide accommodations for that employee.

If you’re not sure where to start, talk to other businesses in your field. You may discover there are things your company can do to make your workplace more accessible and thus more inclusive.

Make the Position Accessible

Many people with disabilities are able to perform the essential functions of a job but may have difficulty with minor requirements. For instance, someone in a wheelchair may need files to be restructured for physical access. And someone with impaired vision may require a text reader for online documents.

The best way to support people with disabilities is to be realistic about the requirements for each position. In addition, you should think of the kinds of accommodations you can provide. Simply adjusting shelving could help the employee in a wheelchair. That change would not alter the job description or requirements but allow for different ways of accomplishing those tasks.

To make your job accessible, use these tips:

  • Communicate with employees who may be affected by your accessibility rules. Doing this can help you identify any barriers that exist and find solutions to make your job accessible.
  • Install an accessible parking spot or ramp. This can make it easier for employees with disabilities to get to their car or enter your business.
  • Include alt tags on all your images. This tells users with screen readers that are able to access the images that are actually contained within the file.

Offer a Flexible Workspace

If you have a physically demanding job, a person who is visually impaired, or another person with a disability who may need accommodations, a flexible workspace can help. This can include a ramp, lift, or other modification that will allow an employee with a disability to perform their job.

While you should first look to see if your firm has a dedicated accessible employee resource group, you can also ask other employees if they know of any disabled employees who might need a flexible workspace.

Show Employees You’re Invested in Their Success

Regardless of whether you hire an employee with a different skill set, motivation, or approach to work, you should show them you’re invested in their success. This can include giving your employees with disabilities equal pay and opportunities for advancement, as well as accommodations if they’re needed.

Another way to show you are invested is to create a pamphlet for new hires that shows how you’re committed to creating an inclusive culture. You can easily make your own using a free online pamphlet or brochure template. Simply choose the template you like and add your own colours, fonts, images, and more.

Provide a Low-Stress Environment

Not every disability is visible. Many people suffer from depression, anxiety, migraines, and other conditions that make them susceptible to stress. Encourage your employees to bring in plants or nature-themed art to reduce anxiety. Research has shown these things can be helpful when people cannot be outside.

You can even create a relaxation room where employees can go when they need to decompress. Use dim lighting and aromatherapy to create a relaxing atmosphere. You can even add a white noise machine or ambient music to add to the vibe and reduce the normal office sounds.

Broaden Your Hiring for Empowerment

Creating an accessible workplace is not just a legal requirement, it is also the right thing to do for your employees and your business. By ensuring that your workplace is inclusive and accessible, you are empowering your employees, boosting morale, and fostering a culture of diversity and equality. Whether it’s providing accessible technology, making physical alterations, or offering accommodations, there is a myriad of ways to create an accessible workplace. By taking proactive steps toward accessibility, you’ll make your business more welcoming and productive for all.


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