Inclusive recruitment & retention is more than a CSR strategy

Inclusive recruitment & retention is more than a CSR strategy

By Seònaid Ó Murchadha For CSR Hub
Wednesday, 29th August 2018
Filed under: GeneralInformation

Many of us will have heard about the advantages of employing diverse teams of people at some stage in our careers. We will have heard that doing so can have a positive impact on, people, profits and productivity. But what does inclusive recruitment and retention really mean? More importantly how do you go about achieving it?


There are many advantages for companies who include people with disabilities in their workplace. We are always looking for creative thinkers, problem solvers and resilient staff members for our organisations. However, when we think about what our ‘ideal’ new hire looks like, they probably don’t have a disability.

People with disabilities tick all of these boxes; they are creative thinkers, problem solvers and exceptionally resilient people. They have had to navigate their lives and educational experiences in a different, and often more difficult, way than their non-disabled peers.

According to the Association for Higher Education Access & Disability (AHEAD), a total of 12,630 students with disabilities are studying in third level institutions in Ireland in 2016/2017 – representing 5.7% of the total student population. They’re graduating with the same skills and qualifications as their peers but find it much more difficult to get work. Simply because they present differently and don’t fit the ‘ideal candidate’ mould.

An employer wanting to be inclusive needs to challenge the fundamental concept of the ‘ideal’ candidate at the shortlisting and interview stages and try to include disability within the idea of an ‘ideal’ candidate.

Remember potential employees value the ethical approach of a company. They have the ability to know everything about an organisation with a few clicks. It is more important than ever to consider how your company is being perceived externally and internally.


According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 7 of us worldwide experience some kind of disability. Census 2016 showed about 643,131 people living with a disability in Ireland or 13% of the population. The majority of those people will have acquired their disability at some stage during their working lives.

The odds are you, as an employer will be managing a disability-related issue at some stage regardless of whether you feel ready for the challenge.

When a key member of your team gets unwell or has an accident, it is hard to imagine how the company will cope without their skills and input. You may also be unsure how to manage their return to work and are possibly afraid of getting it wrong or offending them.

The good news is, you are not alone, there are many supports and schemes out there to help you to navigate this change. Early intervention, patience and flexibility are key but communication is the most important factor. Ensure that the communication lines remain open and engage a professional return to work expert to help you.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have a variety of supports to assist and the Employer Disability Information service is available to help you in any way you need.

Including people with disabilities in your workplace and embracing those employees who acquire a disability during their working life helps to make your workplace a better place to work and improves your company’s reputation and image.

Inclusive recruitment and retention is more than a CSR strategy - it is smart, responsible business. Don’t let your business miss this opportunity! Talk to us today.