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Accessible Onboarding: Conveying a Commitment to Inclusion from Day One

June 21, 2023
Source: Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)

A commitment to an accessible and inclusive workplace starts before employment even begins, during the application and interview process. But it’s vitally important to reinforce accessibility and inclusion during the next stage—onboarding. 

Now, a new online resource from the ODEP-funded Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) can help employers both communicate and demonstrate a commitment to accessibility and inclusion during the onboarding process. 

EARN’s Accessible Onboarding tool includes examples of best practices, starting with things employers can do before an employee begins, such as describing available transportation options and the work location, explaining what to expect on the first day, and ensuring documents and systems are fully accessible. 

Once an employee is on the job, strategies include orienting them to the workspace, introducing them to colleagues, and ensuring policies and benefits information is inclusive and available in alternative formats if needed. Employees should also be informed how to request reasonable accommodations. 

From there, ongoing approaches while the employee is still learning their new role include ensuring training modes and content are accessible, checking in regularly, being clear about expectations, discussing needs and preferences, and providing feedback on performance.  

While accessibility is important at all stages of employment, emphasizing and demonstrating it during onboarding helps ensure employees with disabilities feel welcomed and included from day one. What’s more, accessible and inclusive onboarding practices reflect sound management strategies that help set all employees up for success. 

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