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Action planning in relation to employment

Ok, I want to improve the number of disabled people working here - but how do I turn that into an action for my action plan?

Recruitment

You will probably start with a rather general aim, for example, you want to know if your recruitment process is genuinely accessible.

How can you make this into something you can measure?

You could make the target more specific. It could become something like: ‘Monitoring of applicants show an increase in responses from disabled people’ or ‘Focus groups/staff/local disability contacts/consultant say that processes meet access standards’.

There are lots of areas within recruitment that you could consider smaller action points to address:

  • Data capture - what do you monitor, when and how is it phrased? Changing the wording can have significant effects, as can explaining why the data is needed and ensuring confidentiality.

  • Analysis – what do you do with data? It is only worth asking the questions if you plan to do something with the statistics you produce.

  • Advertising – where do you advertise, how welcoming is your advertisement and other materials, what wording do you use and can this be improved?

  • Application forms - how do you respond to breaks in people’s career histories? Is the job specification and application form non-discriminatory? Can people fill in the form in different formats?

  • Interviews – have you a budget to pay for access if needed, is the interview process accessible (not just the location, what you are asking people to do), have the panel had training in equalities, how much notice are people given of the interview date to arrange access

You can then pick two or three of these areas where you know you have weaknesses to make into specific action points, ie: “We will make our advertising more welcoming to disabled people”

Even once that has been done, there are still many choices about how such steps can be done:

In relation to how you can make your advertising more welcoming, for example, you could:

  • advertise in the local press or through disability contacts
  • make sure it is designed accessibly so it is easy to read
  • use positive terminology
  • use “please feel free to chat to us about the post” type statements
  • offer a pre-application discussion or open day
  • use “we actively encourage/positively welcome” type statements
  • use “we are happy to provide information in a format to suit you” type statement
  • sign up to and use the Disability Symbol

Employing disabled artists

You might start with something quite wide ranging like : ‘we want to encourage more disabled artists to be involved in our work’

To make this more specific, ask yourselves:

  • What do we mean by this?
  • Why – how does this link with our mission?
  • Do we mean any disabled artists or only those creating work linked to their experience of disability?

There are many way in which you can make this more concrete – if you are a programmer, you can look to increase the percentage of shows you take from disability related companies or to increase your bookings from one night to two/three nights, or you can make a three year agreement with one company or artist.

If you don’t know any disabled artists or producers of such work, you might need a research element – can you research into who or what is available - for example, have you checked out disability arts online? At what level is it appropriate for you to research (regional/national/international)?

Sometimes there are issues about quality – if you genuinely feel this is the case (and its not just because you haven’t researched the field), how can you help organisations/artists develop further if you feel they are ‘not quite there yet’ in relation to your programming/audiences? How can you ensure you bring staff within your organisations with us on your journey in relation to programming?

You might just need to improve your data collection and monitoring, and therefore have an action specific to this.