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The How Do I? Blog

The How Do I? Blog

What to expect when employing people with learning disabilities

 How Do I? Banner - What to expect when employing people with learning disabilities (in the background of the banner you can see various images such as office tools like a computer, briefcase, client index, memo, etc. and emojis of office buildings) 

How Do I? Banner - What to expect when employing people with learning disabilities (in the background of the banner you can see various images such as office tools like a computer, briefcase, client index, memo, etc. and emojis of office buildings) 

70% of HR professionals do not cater for neurodiversity in their organisations, according to People Management. This is a problem because:

·        There are an 930,400 adults in the UK with a learning disability and only 6% of these adults are in work, but 65% of them would like a job.

·        There are many benefits to hiring people with learning disabilities – including have first-hand knowledge of a disabled customer base and being more likely to stay in a role longer with the right support (see Inclusive Employers).

So how can employers reach out to this large source of talent and what should they expect? Read the list below:

 Alice (left) is able to relax and be herself during the job interview because her support worker Judith (middle) was able to accompany her. Amy (right), Alice's new boss, thinks she might be a good fit for the company.  

Alice (left) is able to relax and be herself during the job interview because her support worker Judith (middle) was able to accompany her. Amy (right), Alice's new boss, thinks she might be a good fit for the company.  

 

Recruitment Stage

·        Use clear and simple language in job descriptions and only include tasks that are relevant to the role. If good communication skills are not necessary to do the job well or can be learnt on the job, leave it out as it may exclude those who have specific communication needs.

·        Mention that you are open to hiring people with disabilities. You can watch a job advert by the assistive tech company How Do I? as a good example.

·        Make the application process simple. SHRM says 60 percent of job seekers will quit in the middle of filling out an online job application if it’s too long or complex.

Instead, give candidates the option to contact someone for more information about the role and to email their CV directly to that person, which is what How Do I? did when they advertised my role. This allows people with learning disabilities to ask for help and more time to complete the application process.  

·        Advertise that you can offer reasonable adjustments at interview. Demonstrating that you are willing and able to accommodate different needs makes a positive first impression.

·        Let candidates bring their support worker with them to interview if they wish. When I applied for my other part time job at Inclusive Employers, having my Mencap advisor David attend gave me the confidence to perform well and he was able to provide Inclusive Employers feedback on how well they supported my needs. I also had such a great experience that I was able to attend my next interview with How Do I? without David’s assistance. 

 Chris (left) knows his colleague Peter (right) hates noisy and crowded rooms and finds them very distracting due to his autism, so they always have their 1:1 meetings on a floor of the building where it's quiet. 

Chris (left) knows his colleague Peter (right) hates noisy and crowded rooms and finds them very distracting due to his autism, so they always have their 1:1 meetings on a floor of the building where it's quiet. 

 

Development Stage

If you have hired a person with a learning disability there are many ways to support them in the workplace, which I have covered in a previous article, but here are some key points:

·        Remember that everyone has different needs. While one person with a learning disability may be excellent public speaking or have great customer service skills, another may prefer a consistent routine and have brilliant organisational skills. Always be open to discussing reasonable adjustments and giving/receiving regular feedback, perhaps in regular 1:1 meetings.

·        Be prepared to adjust your communication style. Ask your colleague how they would like to be communicated with, as some may prefer 1:1 conversations and have the chance to ask follow-up questions, whereas others might like to have all the information they need in an email.

Zeinab Ali - How Do I? Digital Marketing and Project Assistant 

If you have a learning disability or support people like us – please share any top tips in the comments section below. 

Please also feel free to share this handy infographic on social media to help spread awareness:  

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