Free Employer Toolkit

The toolkit offers a variety of informative tools. Learn about the skills people with disabilities bring to the workplace and use our ‘how-to’ resources, that provide practical tips and strategies on successful recruitment, hiring, inclusion and retention of people with disabilities.

COVID-19 Tools

COVID-19 has significantly impacted Canadian businesses, forcing many employers to adapt. The value of diversity and inclusion has never been as important as it is today. Employers seeking to recover from the pandemic will be looking to their teams for resilience and adaptability. Once the world shifts back to normal, businesses that foster an inclusive workplace and hire with diversity in mind stand to benefit the most!

Visit our new COVID-19 tools for further information on how hiring people with disabilities will translate into overall business success after the pandemic.

COVID-19 Tools

The challenges presented by COVID-19 can be reduced by taking steps to build a culture of adaptability and resilience designed to leverage disability and diversity. However, to effectively access the strengths and talents of a diverse workforce, businesses must have an inclusive workplace culture in which all workers feel a sense of belonging and engagement.

Many of our tools address the importance of workplace inclusion. Accessibility and accommodations play important supporting roles in an inclusive workplace culture, as does psychological health and safety. Although all these issues benefit employees without disabilities, there is no denying that they also help to build a framework that better supports the inclusion of people with disabilities, as well as other diversity groups.

Workplace Culture

Workplace culture means the collective values, beliefs, assumptions and habits that form the ‘rules’ for working together. Culture is about ‘workplace behaviour’, i.e. the range of actions that are expected, delivered or tolerated. Culture is learned through interaction and shaped by people. A foundational element of a healthy workplace culture is inclusion.

Benefits of an Inclusive Culture

Companies need information to build confidence and capacity around diversity and inclusion to engage diverse talent and build innovation, adaptability, resilience and productivity. Ensuring that all employees feel a sense of belonging and ‘community’ leads to engagement, wellbeing and a shared sense of purpose. This will help your business to get through this crisis and recover more effectively as it draws to a close.

  • Employee Engagement – Inclusive cultures feature higher employee engagement, which in turn leads to higher customer metrics, productivity and profitability. Higher employee engagement also results in lower absenteeism and staff turnover, as well as fewer safety incidents. – Gallup
  • Talent Attraction – Workplaces which demonstrate diversity and inclusion in their messaging and business practices are better able to attract top talent and will thus be prepared for the coming demographic shifts in the workforce. Diversity and inclusion are statistically more important to younger generations and factor into their job choices. This will impact business recovery, post-COVID.
  • Adaptability and Enhanced Problem Solving – Research clearly shows that companies that make workplace diversity and inclusion a priority are more innovative and resilient. Diversity of thought and experience are assets in problem solving. People with disabilities are often solving problems and overcoming barriers that the rest of us don’t even think about.

“Diverse teams are more innovative—stronger at anticipating shifts in consumer needs and consumption patterns that make new products and services possible, potentially generating a competitive edge.”


McKinsey Quarterly (Diversity Still Matters – May 2020)

Inclusive Leadership Behaviours

Crises like COVID create a clear need for inclusive work cultures. While ‘big culture shifts’ may take time, there are some simple actions workplace leaders can implement during COVID to ensure their business is effectively engaging all employees and benefiting from diverse perspectives and adaptive approaches.

  • Include all voices – ‘make space’ for people to speak – ask for their thoughts and comments.
  • Make it safe for employees to speak up – welcome new ideas or solutions.
  • Provide clear communication and consider workers’ varying communication needs.
  • Set the tone – civility and respect should be extended to everyone at work. Tolerance for disrespectful interactions will result in them being repeated and becoming part of the workplace culture. This is a liability for any business.
  • Empower workers to make decisions and have control over their work wherever possible.

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Hire for Talent hosts a Service Provider Directory for businesses to use when they’re ready to reach out for support.

‘Growing’ Inclusive Workplace Cultures

• Develop and communicate workplace inclusion statements (values, goals and commitments)
• Dialogue – ask employees what their commitment to an inclusive workplace will be
• Ask diverse employees to give feedback on what could be improved
• Make sure people know disrespectful behaviour is a liability and will not be accepted
• Recognize, value and accommodate differences – diversity is a strength
• Ensure accessible workplace processes, communications and technology

‘Inclusion statements’ may be a simple acknowledgment that:

Our communities, customers and talent pools are becoming increasingly diverse and we will respect and value that diversity within our customer base and reflect diversity and inclusion within our workplace culture. Inclusion of diverse groups in the workplace is seen by leadership as a sustainable workforce strategy and a way to remain adaptive and resilient. Disrespectful behaviour will not be tolerated.

Short-term goals and commitments can be focused on the priorities that match your business needs and available resources. An assessment of where you are now in terms of diversity and inclusion can help inform where you want to be in three months – or three years.

Mindset Matters

  1. Diversity without inclusion is merely representation without the benefits of engagement.
  2. Inclusion is a critical element to any successful workplace – simply ‘witnessing exclusion’ can cause employees to lose engagement and loyalty.
  3. Each employee brings different strengths (and limitations). Build on the strengths and, wherever possible, accommodate limitations.
  4. We don’t get better at diversity and inclusion by thinking about it; we get better by doing it.

  1. “Diversity Still Matters.” McKinsey & Quarterly, Diversity still matters (mckinsey.com). Accessed 16 December 2020.
  2. “The Case for Improving Work for People with Disabilities Goes Way Beyond Compliance. ”Harvard Business Review, The Case for Improving Work for People with Disabilities Goes Way Beyond Compliance (hbr.org). Accessed 16 December 2020.
  3. “Diversity and inclusion: 8 best practices for changing your culture.” CIO, Diversity and inclusion: 8 best practices for changing your culture | CIO. Accessed 16 December 2020.
  4. “4 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Disability-Inclusion Practices.” Harvard Business Review, 4 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Disability-Inclusion Practices (hbr.org). Accessed 16 December 2020.


Hire for Talent has made every effort to use the most respectful words possible while writing these materials. We realize, however, that the most appropriate terminology may change over time. We developed these materials with the intent to respect the dignity and inherent rights of all individuals.

Don’t forget to fill in our survey about the COVID-19 Tools!

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Facts & Stats

Growing your business requires the ability to attract talent in a shrinking market. Workplaces with a diverse, healthy, inclusive culture are becoming employers of choice.
Hire for Talent is focused on workers with disabilities because this talent pool, and the support services attached, have profound impact on workplace inclusion.
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Canada’s projected worker to retiree ratio will be 2:1 within 15 years. Recruitment from diverse talent pools will be essential!
The inclusion of people with disabilities generates measurable improvements in performance, innovation and company image.