• Lisa Fedrizzi

Fostering A Truly Inclusive Workforce

2020 was an unprecedented year in many ways – social justice, global pandemic, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and parity were all at the forefront.

Organizations and companies have committed to bringing a more inclusive workforce together. But for many, they miss a huge portion of diverse and inclusive candidates. It is important to remember that inclusivity goes beyond diversity. Fostering a wider awareness will be the building blocks to a stronger D,E,I initiative. This goes hand in hand with raising awareness as you amplify your voice and lends authenticity to your commitment.

While talent professionals are trained, the conversation and training need to be had for maximizing the recruitment of all-inclusive candidates. I am focusing today on those in the impairment/disabled community. The unemployment rate for candidates with a disability continues to be twice as high as those without a disability.

Some considerations for you and your talent team:

Engage and Educate:

Cheer Partners in December 2020 had its first internal learning on sign language, which was a success. We partnered with a fabulous ASL instructor, who gave us the basics on introductions and the alphabet in our first session and we are looking forward to our continued learning.

Consider partnering with the National Association of the Deaf, National Federation of the Blind, National Autism Association or Cerebral Palsy Foundation, just to name a few. These organizations can assist in training your recruiters on how to reach out to candidates, connect and network with their groups and recognize that this inclusive community is talented, highly motivated, creative and ready to be considered for a role with your company.


Not all disabilities are visible. Create an ERG (employee resource group)! This group can bring together those employees who are differently-abled or potential caregivers to create a safe and comfortable conversation with your HR Team and Leaders on how to really engage your employees in this inclusive environment. This is not just about showing inclusivity in your marketing materials, but truly living your commitment within your organization.

Bring in guest speakers to help build awareness in a learning session for your team. Create content and use real stories to show that their co-workers or potential new hires are quite capable of working side by side successfully. When you help create awareness and understanding, it will end the quiet stigma.


How accessible is your company? While we know that you must be ADA compliant, how prepared are you internally for day-to-day operations? IBM is well known for upholding its long commitment to the disabled community. They engineered braille typewriters and similar equipment in the 1940s for their employees and developed a program for hiring and training in the community.

Create a workplace culture where all employees and potential new employees will feel included and understood. Continue to educate your hiring team and managers. Conduct surveys throughout the year that emphasize how inclusivity is important to your brand and culture.

While 2021 will certainly become more granular with belonging and inclusivity, we must take the necessary steps to ensure that all employees are educated on the importance of their own self-value to the company or organization.

You have the foundation of a diverse and inclusive culture, now, begin to foster a disability-inclusive culture and you will find that this commitment will open your doors to talented individuals who have been overlooked for too long.