General Advice for Employers Regarding Employees with Disabilities and Health Conditions

This page offers some basic advice on how employers should approach meeting the needs of applicants and workers with disabilities.  It also includes links to other resources, giving employers advice about disability. To attract a diverse workforce, including people with disabilities and learning difficulties, consider your recruitment and disability employee needs at work: 

Have application forms in alternative formats, including ensuring they are compatible with technology like screen readers.  Formats could include a large font, an easy read simpler form, still inducing vital information or a recording of an application form.  You need to show your willingness to accommodate adjustments to encourage applicants to be open and therefore they will apply  and to see them at their best. 

Ensure the company website is accessible, also has a good font size of 12 or higher, and works with specialist software.  Follow accessibility guidelines, like from W3C.

Use Taxitio software to ensure language is suitable for tasks, like job adverts.

Use DisabilityJob Boards, like with us, to show your commitment to disability recruitment and encourage people with disabilities to apply.  Contact us to register an interest. 

Commit to schemes like Disability Confidentto show your disability recruitment focus.

Join the Disability Business Forum.

Have all members of your organisation do Disability Awareness Training. Check out the section on this website.

In marketing materials, have a diverse range of people that promote inclusion and diversity.  Include case studies on the company site of other employees with a disability. 

Ensure promotional and training materials are accessible, such as plain easy read English and use subtitles.

Encourage people to explain any disabilities, such as with statements on application forms, like, ‘tell us of your disability and how we can make the recruitment process accessible to you'.

Have good supportive policies, like always interviewing disabled applicants that meet the minimum job criteria.

Consider how you interview people and where.  Issues, like ensuring the location is accessible and has few, if any distractions, such as in a private office with windows shut.  Consider any assessments and promoting adjustments like the use of a computer, screen reader or extra time in tests.

Offer work trails and work experience to applicants with a disability, so they can show you their talents.  Often people perform better day to day than in a recruitment assessment. 

Offer a buddy system to all new employees.

Accept that not everyone will want to talk about their disability but offer regular catch ups  and constructive feedback.

Encourage in-work assessment, like from Access to Work and using Clear Talent Profiles.

Promote awareness of Access to Work Funding and help people to apply when needed. 

Support Reasonable Adjustments and flexible working practices, like flexible start and finish times.  Comply with the Equality Act (2010).

Work with individuals as they know their condition best.  Don’t make assumptions as everyone is different.

Unless applicants bring up their disability at interview, do not ask them questions about their disability or health condition/learning difficulty.

Remind and encourage applicants to ask for reasonable adjustments and support when called for interview.

Set up a Disability Committee or Network where people with a disability can meet and discuss what is working, not working, support each other and inform management of recommendations.  This can also help with finding solutions, like to accessibility issues. 

Promote the importance of disability and work and inclusion to create a supportive work culture everyone can benefit from. 

Ask open questions to stop assumptions and encourage honest open replies.

Consider, if needed, modifications to job roles, encourage the development of strengths, support weaknesses, celebrate achievements, show employees are valued.

Remploy.  Offer this comprehensive detailed Guide for Employers on hiring people with various disabilities and the most appropriate ways to accommodate their disability.  The handbook explains lots of conditions and the support they may need to show their many strengths and talents at work.

The JRF Joseph Rowntree Foundation offers this guide to help employers accommodate the needs of employees with learning disabilities.