A successful program for hiring people with disabilities starts with an implementation model that works for your business. Take a look at three different ways you can kick off your program (we’ve listed them from lowest level of commitment to highest), as well as the benefits and challenges of each:

1. Grassroots Initiative

A grassroots initiative is characterized by a decentralized and organic structure. You can start with a grassroots initiative and then move on to incorporate other models.


  • Allows proactive local sites
  • Delivers immediate impact against priorities
  • Highly customizable


  • Harder to easily replicate and scale without rallying internal support
  • Potential for executive guidance misalignment

Best suited when:

  • Each site is autonomous and the setup is unique:

– HR is site-based (no shared services department)
– Sharing best practices isn’t applicable


2. Pilot Program

Pilot programs are usually guided from the executive level, with senior managers handling the actual development and management activities. Pilot program models tend to be implemented at 1-4 geographically diverse, local pilot sites with unique business or hiring needs. The benefit: These simultaneous rollouts lead to lessons learned and shared best practices that can then be applied to a wider cross-section of facilities.


  • Customizable
  • Leads to the sharing of learnings and best practices
  • Creates track record and compelling case for change for broader rollout
  • Delivers immediate impact and CEO-level visibility


  • Increases potential for “analysis paralysis” before moving on to national rollout
  • Reduces level of standardization across the initiative

Best suited when:

  • You have a diverse group of sites and need to experiment and learn from models before launching a full scale roll-out
  • Existing programs need to be expanded or assessed


3. Full Scale Rollout

A full scale rollout is characterized by a centrally coordinated initiative, typically at the corporate Human Resources and Operations levels.


  • Allows for highest level of standardization across the initiative
  • Reaches more sites in less time


  • Limits agility in testing the strategy
  • Limits flexibility in adapting the strategy
  • Increases risk of project halting

Best suited when:

  • Smaller operation; or
  • When new operation/ business is being opened
  • You have multiple similar sites; simple solutions with a centralized HR function

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