A key focus in the national security space today remains making national security careers more accessible for diverse populations. One element that is often left out of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility conversation is how to make the onboarding process easier for disabled workers. Lauren Bacon Smith, Chief People Officer at Enabled Intelligence discusses how her company works to make national security careers more accessible to diverse populations. From improving questions and streamlining the interview process, to providing advice and assistance around obtaining a security clearance, there are steps all companies can take to ensure a better path to a national security career.
Enabled Intelligence is a relatively new player to the defense and government contracting scene. The company was formed in March of 2020. “We had the challenge of starting a new company during a pandemic and trying to build a culture virtually,” said Smith. The benefit of starting the company from the ground up was the ability to form culture, community and inclusivity – for all people – from the ground up.
“We wanted everyone here, whether you have a disability or not, to be able to bring their full selves to work and be comfortable being themselves,” said Smith. “We really look at in the way that everyone has different ways of learning, everyone has different ways of communicating.” Smith emphasized that they carry that individualized hiring process into the teams employees work on after they join the company.
Creating a More Inclusive Hiring Process
Another step Enabled Intelligence has made in the hiring process is to revamp the typical interview. Rather than focusing on soft skills -which aren’t a core requirement for their primary jobs, they drilled into the few skills that really mattered – and even looked beyond the typical resume requirements.
“We pulled away all of those things,” said Smith. “We go straight to the technical assessment. We built the assessment for the ability to be able to follow directions and be trained in the space.”
Simple steps – like providing interview questions in advance, creating opportunities for preparation, and facilitating a culture of accommodation from the start – help Enabled Intelligence to build the inclusive culture their company was founded on while ensuring they have the right capabilities for their careers.
“Rather than screening people out, we’re trying to screen them in,” said Smith.