Why companies need to make their assessments socially inclusive and legally compliant?

Establishing a brand value as an equal opportunity employer goes hand-in-hand with providing a positive candidate experience in the talent acquisition process. Unfortunately many companies fall short in their approach as they rush to fill more and more openings with a seemingly shrinking pool of highly qualified applicants. Recruitment processes often leave people with disabilities at a disadvantage. Many candidates who face physical challenges do not get a fair opportunity to compete because the skill assessment tests and interview processes are biased against them. This represents not only a social injustice but can also place the company in legal jeopardy. Specifically, companies may run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 (ADA), a civil rights law that prohibits all forms of discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public and professional life.

Most automated job assessments are built on the intrinsic assumption that the test-taker has no physical limitations. Such assessments do not consider that a suboptimal performance might be the result of the test design, mechanics or test-taking environment, rather than a lack of knowledge by the candidate. Such assessments conflate ability to perform well on the test with the ability to perform well on the job. Consequently, companies often miss candidates who are actually highly qualified. They also risk damaging their reputations as dedicated equal opportunity employers.

 

Adopting accessible digital assessments

A job skills assessment test should not present challenges in any area that is not a factor of the skill that is being measured. Aspiring Minds is committed to providing a fair and balanced testing experience to all qualified jobseekers. We attempt to eradicate bias as a factor that distorts the accurate measurement of skills and limits the available pool of highly qualified candidates to recruiters. Our advanced accessibility options are built with adaptive digital user interfaces that go beyond the mandates of ADA. These tools are available across Aspiring Minds’ Talent Evaluation platforms so that organizations can administer pre-employment tests with confidence.

Some accessibility tools are designed to address common visual impairments. For example, a “line reader” function helps mitigate challenges from dyslexia, which is also addressed through “answer masking” and “answer eliminator” features to reduce confusion. A magnifier tool assists people who have difficulty with small print. Keyboard navigation tools enable keyboard usage for candidates who are legally blind.  We also utilize color palette options in the design of our assessments to help compensate for low-contrast vision and color-vision deficiency. These contrasts are designed according to the Web Contrast Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

 

We have enacted these accommodations in pursuit of greater accuracy and efficiency in the evaluation process, more fairness in selection, and more value to the employer. We strive to identify the most highly talented candidates for any position and ensure that our clients are truly equal opportunity providers. Our accessibility features remove unnecessary barriers to qualified jobseekers and bring relief to companies who wrestle with questions of inclusivity that may arise from conventional skills assessments and test-taking environments.

 

Benefits of accessible talent assessments:

  • Bridging the skills-gap and fostering diversity: Every employee possesses a unique set of skills. People bring differentiated skillsets and alternative perspectives to creative projects and problem-solving tasks. A diverse workforce fosters the development of the unique and productive ideas that drive innovation. Greater diversity inspires greater equality among all members of an organization, leading to better opportunities for individual advancement and growth for all.
  • People with disabilities offer higher productivity: According to a 2017 report by the Partnership Council on Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities of the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, Government of Ontario, 86% of people with disabilities have an attendance record that is comparable to or better than their colleagues without disabilities. Attendance is a strong indicator of productivity and organizational loyalty and also correlates closely with quality of work.
  • Wider talent pool: Accessible employment options are not only a matter of social justice, nor do the benefits of accessibility accrue only to jobseekers with disabilities. An open and inclusive recruitment process widens the pool of suitable candidates. By expanding the list of potential hires, the employer is allowed more choice. This instills greater confidence in finding the right person to advance productivity and strategy goals.
  • Improved Employer Branding: For businesses, the inclusion of accessibility features in talent assessment can improve employer branding by establishing their reputations as responsible corporate citizens. By practicing awareness of unconscious discriminatory practices and actively taking steps to safeguard against them, a company can create value around its name and enjoy first-preference status among the most highly sought-after talent.

 

The digital barriers that are presented by automated assessments should not hinder talented individuals from joining the workforce. Innovative technology-enabled assessments should be available to any person who may benefit. Dismantling the barriers to participation in employment not only fosters a positive work environment but also ensures that inclusion, tolerance, and equality of opportunity become the de facto standard.

“….impairment describes our physical or neurological state…while, disability is created by the barriers we encounter in society – like buildings with no lifts or information not being provided in formats we can access. To say that a person “has a disability” is to say that these barriers are our responsibility..” Stella Young, Disability Rights Activist and Comedian.

Every assessment tool and recruitment process must take care to ensure that the doors remain open to every qualified individual. A lack of accessibility options harms both the jobseeker and employer. Assessments that are equipped with proven accessibility features not only help companies remain legally compliant but also demonstrates their commitment to social responsibility both within the organization and among jobseekers in the labor market. Cultivating your company brand is not only good business but also provides an edge in the competition for the most highly qualified and sought-after talent.

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