When you employ people with disabilities, it means you are seeking to hire the most skilled candidates, while seeing the value of having a diverse workforce.
To that end, here are three things your organization can do to ensure you’re supporting your disabled staff in the workplace.
1. Provide training for all staff in Unconscious Bias
Employees without disabilities may often be unaware of the needs and support required for colleagues who may have a disability. By providing training employees on the difficulties people with disabilities might face at work, you can open their eyes to things they should be considering.
For example: showing a video that exemplifies the challenges disabled people face throughout their workday can be fruitful in bringing awareness.
Training should be peer-led, if possible and should encourage staff to refrain from using language and doing things that can be considered disrespectful, such as speaking to someone like a child or assuming someone needs help without asking.
Here are some training videos you may wanty to check out:
Note: these trainings work for not only the disabled, but dealing with cultural differences as well.
2. Pay workers with disabilities equally
This should be obvious but unfortunately the disability pay gap is shocking. Overall, workers with a disability earn 66 cents for every dollar than those with no disability. Read that again.
This practice is demotivating for persons with disabilities, and not only is it discriminatory, but could land you and your company in hot water.
If in practice you treat all employees at your company fairly and pay your staff equally, your reputation as a diverse and inclusive employer will attract higher quality talent and create an amazingly collaborative and engaging workforce.
3. Provide flexible working arrangements
As an employer, it’s important to note that not all disabilities can be seen. In making sure you accommodate all employees, you must realize that modifying your working conditions means a variety of things.
Staff with conditions such as dyslexia or autism may find bright lights, loud noise, and heavy patterns on the walls difficult. In these instances, providing a space with natural lighting, let noise or allowing them to work from home will be beneficial.
Someone in a wheelchair won't be able to go up stairs, or they may have difficulty sitting at a standard sized table. Adding ramps or having sit/stand adjustable tables will make it easier for that employee to exist in the workplace.
These are just some of what can be done to make the working environment accessible to all.
Beyond adjusting your office space, think about the most convenient way for workers with disabilities to travel to the office. Is public transport accessible for them? If not, what are the other options you can provide them?
A great work culture is inclusive for all employees. Making your company a desireable place to be is key to retaining great staff. If you’d like additional data on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, check out the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities EmployAbility page for more info.