Celebrating the best in inclusive recruitment in 2022

Today, it's broadly recognised that flexibility and diversity makes for a happier workforce and for products and services that better reflect  diverse customers. There's no doubt, however, that there is still some reluctance - and even fear - associated with disability, despite the amazing technology and software adjustments that AbilityNet champions every day.

Woman sat at her desk looking at two large monitors

Being disabled myself, I regularly give thanks that an employer was not only willing to employ a blind person but actually recognised the benefits of a diverse workforce. That was in 1996 (just one year after it became a legal requirement to provide  equality of opportunity here in the UK) and I've worked with AbilityNet ever since. 

Twenty years on, every recruiter and employer should of course know that it's the law to employ the most qualified person for any vacancy regardless of race, religion, gender or impairment (plus a number of other 'protected characteristics') and, for many of you reading this, 'grateful' may not seem the appropriate word to use - but the reality today, in 2022, is that many disabled candidates who decide to disclose their impairments in order to be given the reasonable adjustments they need to perform at their best are still quietly but devastatingly filtered out of the application process. 

Whilst recruiters are very aware of their legal requirements, disclosing a disability is still a difficult and dangerous decision for candidates to make.

Celebrating inclusive recruitment

The reality is that there are many adjustments out there that help level the playing field for disabled candidates and that are easy to put in place. Check out the many resources and factsheets on our website to quickly see that this is true. There’s also our amazing My Computer My Way website that provides step-by-step guides on getting the most out of devices from Windows to Macs, from iPads to Android phones.

Many recruiters have embraced diversity, have taken the time to explore the adjustments that disabled or neurodiverse candidates require, and are doing it extremely well. The Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative Awards celebrates these organisations and is an excellent place to showcase the best of the best.

The RIDI awards celebrate the best examples of employers who not only welcome diversity but manage the process of inclusion in recruitment in truly exemplary ways.

The categories

I was first asked to judge the RIDI awards in 2020 and it's been a real honour to see all the amazing entrants over the last two years. A lot has changed - in technology, recruitment practices, flexible and home working - and this year sees some updates to the award categories to reflect these changes.

Getting started

This award recognises an organisation that has just its their journey to be Disability Confident. We celebrate the steps taken to engage staff across the business, the changes made to reflect more inclusive practices and the motivation shown in getting up to speed. An organisation that, although at the start of its journey, shows they are fully committed to inclusivity and are stepping up to the plate to achieve this.

Most inclusive recruitment campaign

This award recognises a unique campaign that has been carefully and cleverly implemented to attract a diverse range of talent. We look at the thinking behind how roles are advertised across channels, as well as factors such as language, imagery, access, and bias. A campaign that is not only open and inclusive for disabled people but goes the extra mile to ensure they have been consulted and supported at every step.

Making a Difference - Public Sector (new)

This award highlights those who have excelled in levelling the playing field for disabled candidates in the recruitment process. Identifying and implementing appropriate reasonable adjustments at every stage and working hard to swiftly remove any barriers. An example of going the extra mile and inclusivity best practice in action.

Making a Difference - Private Sector (new)

This award highlights those who have excelled in levelling the playing field for disabled candidates in the recruitment process. Identifying and implementing appropriate reasonable adjustments at every stage and working hard to swiftly remove any barriers. An example of going the extra mile and inclusivity best practice in action.

Disability Confident

This award singles out a business, organisation or agency demonstrating top-level commitment to the Disability Confident scheme and effective implementation of the guidance across their workplace. An avid promoter, and expert in how disability confidence can be utilised to recruit and retain great people.

Disability Specialist

This award recognises a key player in the wider recruitment industry. Someone who embodies the model of best practice in providing inclusive recruitment and employment services – be that workplace schemes, a supported employment programme or a unique partnership. A committed, knowledgeable force that has the one-up in their field.

Inclusive Technology (new)

This is a new category for 2022, recognising the impact inclusive technology has in making recruitment processes inclusive to all.

Inclusive Recruiter of the Year (new)

This year, this award celebrates an exemplary person or team going above and beyond to ensure inclusivity in the recruitment process. They passionately believe in equality of access, promote it across the business and implement new and tested initiatives to ensure disabled candidates are attracted and supported in employment.

Submitting entries is easy

If you know of organisations or teams showing great examples of inclusive recruitment and onboarding, then please don’t delay – get your entry in today. It’s easy to register and submit entries - and you can save your progress as you go.

The more employers and recruiters are aware of how readily recruitment can be made inclusive, the quicker we can address the challenges associated with disclosing a disability. 

I dearly wish that every disabled person living in the UK has the opportunities and acceptance that I experienced all those years ago.

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