How to Become More Inclusive in Your Employment Practices

By Elijah Dawson

Creating a more inclusive culture is one way to attract differently-abled new hires. For example, don’t just have generic events that require people to be able to drive or have the ability to attend in person.

Offer options for those who are less mobile and can’t get out much. Also, make sure your website is fully compliant with how assistive devices work so these individuals can access it without issue. Below, you’ll find some more housekeeping items to help point you in the right direction.

As a brief aside, it’s important to think about implementing temporary accommodations to reduce the risk of COVID. For example, you might need to install temporary barriers to ensure social distancing. Doing so will make your company more attractive to those who need peace of mind in this area.

Recruitment Process

One housekeeping item is to make sure your recruitment process is in place to accommodate differently-abled people. It’s important that you have a clear plan on how new hires will enter your company, what job offers are available for them, and which benefits they’ll receive.

You need to be able to explain this process in detail when you’re interviewing someone or speaking with them on the phone. This includes how quickly they can expect an offer letter if there are other hiring managers involved in vetting the candidate and what steps they’ll take before making the final decision.

Establish Your Business with the State

It’s important to make sure you have your business established with the state in order to maintain tax compliance and to obtain your EIN. This is crucial when you’re hiring staff because the IRS uses your EIN for payroll taxes, and it’s required for offering your employees retirement plans.

Creating a More Inclusive Culture

A company’s culture is one of the most important aspects of an employee’s work experience. The best way to ensure an inclusive culture is to provide opportunities for different backgrounds and perspectives.

That doesn’t mean all offices need a ping-pong table, but it does mean you should take steps to make sure your office environment is welcoming for everyone who wants to join your team.

Making Your Website Work for Assistive Devices

A simple and effective way to attract differently-abled new hires is to make sure that your website can be accessed by those with different types of devices, like screen readers or browsers.

If you’re not sure how to go about this process, ask for help from an expert. There are professionals who can develop custom web accessibility solutions tailored to your company’s needs. They’ll also help you ensure that your website is compliant with all applicable laws in order to avoid liability.

Creating Internship Programs for Those with Disabilities

Some companies offer internships for people with disabilities as a way to test-drive the relationship and see if it’s mutually beneficial for both parties.

These internship programs are created with the help of nonprofit organizations and are often offered through social media sites, providing an enriching opportunity for people who may not otherwise have access to such opportunities.

Revamping Your Recruitment Process

Employers have a duty to keep their workforce diverse and inclusive. This means using a recruitment process that doesn’t discriminate against people with disabilities. You should make sure your website can work with assistive devices, offer career planning opportunities for those with disabilities, and create internship programs to help bridge the gap.

NC DHHS Intent to Vaccinate Survey

NC DHHS is looking to gain additional insight into NC practices and their intent to vaccinate. Your response is needed – please click on the link below to take their brief survey!

From the President: Seeking Help During the Prolonged Stress of COVID

By Venkata Jonnalagadda, MD

Reprinted with permission from the North Carolina Medical Board

In November, during NCMB’s regularly scheduled Board Meeting, I had the honor of being sworn in as this distinguished body’s 122nd President. I am profoundly grateful to have this opportunity to serve. But this first President’s Message is not about me.

Instead I want to acknowledge what a tremendously stressful time this is for medical professionals and encourage licensees to make self-care a priority. Stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms are all associated with an increased risk of relapse in individuals with substance use disorder. They also increase the chances that someone with no prior history of misuse may turn to alcohol or other drugs as an unhealthy way to cope.

I write this thinking mainly of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which affects us all in myriad ways.

I am thinking of frontline clinicians facing a third surge of COVID-19 patients even as we head into flu season. I am thinking of licensees, practices and employers worrying over financial stability or even unemployment as patients continue to avoid or defer care to reduce their exposure. And I am also thinking of licensees who may be juggling children in virtual school and/or the responsibility of providing extra assistance to help vulnerable family members stay safe during the pandemic, along with all of their other obligations.

And of course, we are heading into the holiday season, which can be a stressful and isolating time even when we are not facing a pandemic.

Given these conditions, it is imperative that clinicians remain vigilant in addressing behaviors that may increase risk of harm to themselves or jeopardize their ability to practice safely. Sadly, but not surprisingly, over the past several months NCMB has noted an uptick in alcohol and substance use relapses among licensees with a history of substance use disorder.

Please remember that it is possible to seek assistance for depression and/or substance use without your identity becoming known to NCMB and get help if you need it. Nor is it necessary to notify NCMB if you have initiated treatment. NCMB understands how important it is for its licensees to have the ability to get help without fear.

If you do not drink alcohol or have a history of substance use, it may be easy to think of this issue as someone else’s problem. I would argue, however, that this is a community issue. Those of us who are able should actively work to lift and support friends and colleagues in crisis. I implore those of you in leadership positions in medicine to consider whether your organizations are doing all they can to adequately support clinicians who may be struggling.

In closing, I want to remind everyone that the NC Professionals Health Program is a supportive resource available to anyone struggling with substance use or depression. Call them at 919-870-4480. For those who prefer a different resource, I encourage you contact a local provider for help if you need it or look into some of the national resources available to clinicians. Among them are the Physician Support Line at 888-409-0141 or www.physiciansupportline.com, the Emotional PPE Project available at www.emotionalPPE.org, or Project Parachute, which can be found at www.project-parachute.org.

Thank you for your attention.

Be well.