“Reasonable Adjustments conversations - terrifying?”. 

That term, as a focused and driven recruiter in my early career, terrified me. How would I fit in any conversations or adjustments into my well-worked candidate screening process? How could I broach the topic of  disability with candidates? Isn’t it rude to ask? Will I not offend people for asking such a personal question in a professional setting?

To add, I had no idea what disability was and there was next to no insight or thought leadership on the topic in my organisation at the time. Putting my result focused hat back on,  I was also driven to provide a first class, fast, effective service to my customers so how would they respond if I fell behind my deliverables due to ensuring reasonable adjustments for a disabled candidate?

Thankfully we all learn and grow. Today, twenty (ish) years later, I now count some of my close family, friends and colleagues as disabled. I feel privileged to understand what living with a disability means - it certainly does not mean inability, regardless of what the disability is. I have also learnt that disabilities are not always visible and knowing and sharing this, differentiates recruiters when engaging with customers, both candidates and clients. . 

Almost 20% of the working age population are disabled and as a leading recruitment and HR solutions business, Randstad are all too familiar with the “war for talent”; for ourselves and for our clients - and we’re on a mission to unlock this potential and make employment accessible for people with disabilities. 

People with disabilities have an incredibly varied skillset that are of great value in the workplace, yet they are almost twice as likely to be unemployed. A 2018 study by Accenture  found that firms that adopt best practice on disability inclusion have 28% higher revenue and 30% higher economic profit - so why aren’t more organisations putting disability on the Board agenda and becoming disability inclusive?

Our clients come to us because they want the best skills, capability and potential from our candidates to drive their revenue and profit. More and more of our clients are coming to us and seeking support in making their organisations more diverse and inclusive, including from an employee’s educational perspective. We know available and skilled candidates are in short supply, so we're focused on being creative in where we look for talent and how we engage with that talent. 

We are proud of our credentials (BDF membership, Valuable 500 and a Disability Confident employer) to ensure we are seen as attractive to a diverse group of customers. We demonstrate that we see the possible in people based on their unique skillset, capability and the potential they bring to our organisation. We treat our customers and employees with respect, empathy and equality to future proof our business and create an irresistible organisation

Personally, I believe, as an ex-recruiter, I missed years of opportunity by shying away from the “reasonable adjustment” conversation. Reflecting back, and knowing what I know now, anyone with a disability who has the skills and capability to do a role, is most welcome at Randstad. The courage, resilience, determination and growth mindset displayed by these individuals are the exact characteristics we value and encourage in our business. People with disabilities demonstrate these characteristics every day, without fail. 

At Randstad, we always ask if reasonable adjustments are needed as part of the standard application process. Remembering not to go into detail or ask what type of disability the individual may have - we’re focused on asking if individuals need any adjustments, to support their success and experience with us. Our assessment process is fully accessible and W3C AA compliant. We track diversity dimensions through the application and candidate lifecycle to understand where we are doing well and also where we can make improvements for a more inclusive experience. We use this data to support our internal learning and development and encourage 360° feedback from applicants and candidates at every stage of our recruitment methodology. 

So, “reasonable adjustments” conversations, terrifying? Not anymore. 

If I could have my time again, that rushed, driven and focussed recruiter would see the possible in people and know that meaningful candidate conversations need to be prioritised because they are a unique and important opportunity to create connections and nurture bonds. It’s also an opportunity to help your clients become more diverse, on their own journey to inclusivity and becoming a stronger, more impactful organisation. 

Happy International Day of People With Disabilities. 

about the author
mark jones ruk
mark jones ruk

Mark Jones

senior inclusion & wellbeing manager emea at randstad uk