December 3 marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Here's a look at what organizations can be doing to create a more inclusive workplace for people with disabilities.
Integrate accessibility into every step of your hiring process
Make sure that job descriptions and application forms are easily accessible. Actively consider any requirements for accessibility, hearing loops, or computer access that people with disabilities might have. Plus, make sure you are offering and willing to accommodate any accessibility needs throughout the interview process.
Employ blind hiring strategies
A blind hiring approach is essential for recruiting people with disabilities since it helps eliminate hiring biases – this is vital to hiring the very best talent.
Extensive company-wide education and training
Education and training are crucial to supporting your employees living with disabilities. Ensure your managers have all the needed resources to create a supportive and accessible work environment and have buy-in from leadership. By making it company-wide and compulsory, you're ensuring everyone in the team is educated with up-to-date knowledge.
Ensure you respect privacy and only ever share information someone is comfortable with others knowing. When in doubt, ask the person how they would like to be addressed or what they would be comfortable with being shared. Avoid assuming things about others and, instead, follow their lead.
Adjust your work environment
When changing your work environment to accommodate all employees, it's crucial to remember that not all conditions are physical or visible. Consider the most practical commute option for employees with impairments in addition to modifying your workplace. Are they able to access public transportation? If not, take into account setting up transportation or letting them work flexibly from home. Create a work environment where employees can be open and honest. You want your team to feel comfortable asking for changes and expressing their needs.
Create a Disability Employee Resource Group (ERG)
Disability ERGs are vital in raising awareness of workplace issues that affect people with disabilities. They create a safe space where employees with disabilities and their allies can openly discuss challenges they may be experiencing. You can also ask the group to input into your hiring processes to ensure they are fully inclusive.
Create up-to-date policies and resources for inclusion
Make sure your policies are all up to date and have input in creating them from people with disabilities. Ask your disability ERG to review policies and listen carefully to any feedback they have.
Diverse and inclusive workplaces are good for business
By prioritizing an inclusive workplace, not only will your staff stay longer and be happier at work, but it has been shown to increase productivity and business growth. A diverse workforce will be better able to meet the needs of a diverse customer base. By making an authentic commitment to creating a better workplace for everyone, you’ll attract and retain top talent.
Consider partnering with disability-inclusive organizations
Show allyship within your business by partnering with organizations that seek to promote and improve diversity and inclusion standards in your company. The Business Disability Forum is a non-profit organization constantly striving to work on accessibility, inclusivity and the removal of social barriers that prevent disabled people from achieving their goals. Here's a list of charities to consider partnering with to help improve and support disability inclusion.