Despite many companies’ initiatives to build a more inclusive team, people in marginalized groups are still being left out of the equation. One of these groups is those with learning disabilities, when in fact, many of them meet and even exceed the qualifications of any other top applicant.
We asked members of Forbes Coaches Council for advice on how a company can strive to be more inclusive of people with learning disabilities. How many of these tactics are used in your hiring process?
1. Shift Perspectives
Organizations must first understand that learning disabilities are gifts in disguise. Many people with alternative learning styles are able to problem solve (outside of the box) and therefore provide a different perspective on organizational issues. Viewing these individuals as an asset is a necessary first step to truly becoming an inclusive and cutting-edge company. – Joanna Green, Joanna M Green
2. Focus On Ability
Even using the word “disability” starts the conversation “with this person is less able.” Instead, talk about abilities. What can people do? What can they even do better than an “abled” person? Focus on all the characteristics everyone has in common rather than the few that make us different. Everyone has strengths and weakness. Know and respect them just like any other. – Larry Boyer, Success Rockets LLC
3. Give What Is Needed
“Learning disabilities” is a misunderstood term, assuming the IQ or abilities are subpar and visible, when in fact, many have high IQs or “gifts” and they cope by excelling in other areas. Give this individual projects, tasks, and necessary tools where they will shine to earn the team’s respect. Also, team communication assessments, like DiSC, will help the individual and entire organization. – Lucie Yeomans, YourCareerAlly.com/Sick Resumes
4. Invest In Your Employees
Everyone has a learning style, whether it’s visual, auditory or tactile. When looking to teach our workforce, focus training and education on those learning styles. If there are learning challenges, spend more one-on-one time and focus on how they best comprehend the material. This is a great way to grow employee engagement. It shows you care by giving them the extra time for them to become the best. – Chris Cebollero, Cebollero & Associates
5. Assume Less And Ask More
Start a dialogue and get people engaged. Sometimes we need to take a moment to feel what it is like in someone else’s shoes. Ask the employee with the purported challenges what they need, and you may be surprised. Recognize the limitations even as you find the superpowers and unique strengths. Any little effort you make can really matter! – Vik Kapoor, Esq., Extra-M Coaching