Many businesses are struggling with lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. And they’re laying off or furloughing employees.
But while most of the country stays home, businesses such as grocery stores, drugstores, and warehouses are seeing a surge in customer demand. And many of those companies are rushing to fill open positions.
If your business needs to hire employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may feel overwhelmed. But you don’t have to do it on your own. Disability employment services can help you quickly build a strong pool of candidates, generally at no cost to you.
Every state in the U.S. has its own agency that helps people with disabilities find jobs. You can also contact local nonprofits, veterans’ services, transition programs, and schools. The Workplace Initiative recently conducted a survey of these organizations. We found that agencies that support job seekers with disabilities currently have a large number of clients who are ready and willing to work.
These job placement services have already assessed the strengths of the candidates, so they can work with your business to find the right hires for the roles you have available. They’ll brief candidates on the job descriptions and provide services like interview prep, so you know you’ll be seeing candidates who are well-prepared.
They can also provide support for onboarding and training. For example, they may provide a job coach to help ensure a smooth transition into the role. The job coach might visit the work site regularly at first, and taper off as the employee gets up to speed.
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When you reach out to a disability employment partner, they’ll ask for information about the jobs you have available. Provide as much information as you can. Highlight the essential functions of the job, so they understand the most important requirements. The more detailed you are about your hiring needs, the easier it will be for the agency to send you the best candidates for the positions.
They may also send a representative to tour the job site. The visitor will observe employees doing jobs that are similar to the ones you have open. That will help them decide which candidates are the most suitable.
They’ll also be able to advise on any reasonable accommodations that you could put in place to support employees with disabilities. Accommodations are usually not expensive. Many accommodations cost nothing, and nearly all the rest involve a one-time cost that averages $500.
The disability employment service can help you structure your interviews and advise on any extra information you might want to provide to candidates due to the coronavirus pandemic. For example, it’s a good practice to go over the safety precautions your business has put into place due to COVID-19. Be open about the risks, too. Talk through your company’s sick leave policy, and the steps you’ve put in place to keep employees safe if a co-worker gets COVID-19.
Be clear about the future of the job. Sometimes people with disabilities won’t express their concerns in an interview because they fear discrimination. And with high unemployment, many candidates will be hesitant to ask any question they think might endanger their chances.
So, let the job seeker know whether they should expect to be a short-term or long-term hire. A shared understanding of the job opportunity will help you choose the right candidates. Be as transparent as possible.
Employers that provide the food, medicine, and other products that keep society running are under a lot of stress. Trying to manage growing customer demands in the middle of a crisis is no easy task.
By partnering with job placement services for people with disabilities, employers can streamline their hiring approach. Working with one of these agencies can help you find the best candidates for the jobs you have available. And by building the partnership now, your business will gain a valuable hiring tool that you can use into the future.