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Readiness: The Second Pillar of Accessible Employment

Updated: Jan 22

In the journey toward accessible employment, readiness stands as the pivotal second pillar in our comprehensive 4 Pillar Model. This essential step involves more than just a surface-level acknowledgment of the need for change—it's about cultivating a mindset shift, preparing to dismantle long-held beliefs, and fostering a workplace culture that embraces diversity and inclusion. Let's delve into the core components that make up the readiness pillar.

A work team of various ages, races, and genders gather outside in front of a redbrick wall with coffees in hand for a staff photo. A colleague to the far right sits in a wheelchair, to the right another colleague sits on the table. Overlaid is a graphic of three overlapping quarter circles with the words: Readiness - Preparing organizations to be inclusive inside. A checked box icon sits at the bottom right of the graphic.

Designating a DEI Lead:

A crucial starting point in building readiness is the appointment of a dedicated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Lead. This individual plays a pivotal role in steering the ship towards a more inclusive future. They facilitate the development and execution of a strategic plan, acting as a bridge between the leadership team and the broader workforce. With a DEI Lead in place, there's a clear channel for communication, collaboration, and sustained commitment to accessible employment initiatives.

Applying a Change Management Process:

Change can be a formidable force, especially when it challenges long-established practices. Readiness involves applying a comprehensive change management process that prepares hiring managers to shift their practices. This process not only acknowledges the need for change but provides the tools and support necessary for a smooth transition. By addressing potential resistance, fostering understanding, and equipping managers with the skills to champion inclusivity, organizations set the stage for meaningful and lasting transformation.

Providing Training and Education:

A culture of inclusion is nurtured through education. Readiness entails providing training and education for leaders and staff alike, fostering not only awareness but also the skills needed to support a diverse workforce. These initiatives go beyond mere compliance, aiming to instill a deep understanding of the value that diversity brings to the workplace. Training programs that emphasize empathy, cultural competence, and inclusive leadership empower individuals at all levels to actively contribute to a workplace that celebrates differences.

Developing Recruitment Best Practices:

Readiness is incomplete without a strategic approach to recruitment. Organizations must develop and implement recruitment best practices that prioritize hiring individuals with disabilities. This involves reevaluating job descriptions, adopting inclusive language, and revisiting traditional hiring processes to ensure they are accessible and accommodating. By actively seeking diverse talents and adapting recruitment strategies accordingly, organizations open doors to a wealth of untapped potential.

In essence, the readiness pillar is the catalyst for change within the framework of accessible employment. It's about acknowledging the need for a shift, preparing the groundwork, and equipping the entire organization with the tools needed to embrace diversity and inclusion.

As we embark on this journey, let's remember that readiness is not just a one-time effort; it's an ongoing commitment to creating a workplace where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can thrive. Together, we build a foundation that propels us toward a future where accessible employment is not just an aspiration but a reality.


Need Help Building your EDI Capacity?

CAN WiN offers FREE accessible recruitment, retention, training, and consulting services for employers in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. We recruit for many different career opportunities, from entry to senior-level positions, on behalf of employers who are committed to workforce inclusion of people with disabilities.


Looking for more detailed information on workplace accommodations?

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The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on job accommodations and disability employment issues. Serving customers across the United States and around the world for more than 35 years, JAN provides free practical guidance and technical assistance on job accommodation solutions, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for people with disabilities.

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Do you want to be a more inclusive and accessible employer?

Take this 15-minute Disability Inclusive Employer Self-Assessment to gain a deeper understanding of where you’re doing well and where there’s room to improve.

Open Door Group and Presidents Group collaborated on this tool, created from recent international research on practices that truly increase inclusion and retention of people with disabilities in the workplace.

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