Globally, one billion have some form of disability that some businesses unfortunately ignore. That is a huge population that shouldn’t be disregarded. In fact, there are certain companies where you can’t find a single employee with a disability.
Companies can support people with disabilities by employing them and becoming an employer of choice. There are high-skilled candidates in this category that employers can attract and support in order to enhance team performance, boost productivity and increase your talent pool.
The following tips can help an organization truly support an employee with a disability in their workplace.
Be an Accessible Recruiter
Some employers state on the job specs that they can adapt their interview processes to accommodate the needs of various candidates. In other words, they’re telling potential candidates that even people with some form of disabilities can apply.
Surprisingly the majority of recruiters or recruitment agencies are not accessible or approachable to people with disabilities. They do that by making job descriptions and applications inaccessible to them, such as using very fine print, making it hard for people with an eyesight problem not to see them. They can improve this by ensuring that their online documents are available in large, Braille, or compatible with screen readers.
When conducting interviews, recruiters can provide options such as telephone interviews, video calls, etc. They can also make their offices accessible by wheelchair. Reviewing your company policies can help recruit people with disabilities and help the organization adapt and evolve accordingly.
Modify Work Stations
Some conditions are not physical and should be taken into consideration when modifying the work schedule in order to accommodate all employees. For instance, employees with dyslexia, ADHD, and autism may not be comfortable working in places with loud noise, bright lights, and heavy patterns on the walls.
Employers with employees with such a condition can provide workstations with natural lighting, quiet rooms, noise-canceling headphones, or allow them to work from home. Further, they can implement assistive technologies like screen readers, voice recognition technology, amplified phones, or hearing loop systems.
Employees with disability have different needs that employees without disabilities might not be aware of. An employer can bridge the gap through training because it exposes their challenges and recommends appropriate actions that other employees and their supervisors can take to support such employees. In fact, peer-led training can be continuous and not formal.
Staff without disabilities can be trained to refrain from helping their colleagues with disabilities to complete their tasks without their request or asking them to be brave.
Managers that have not worked or lived with someone with a disability may find it hard to supervise such a person. They may be concerned about what to say or how to provide adequate support. However, managers are expected to be experts, but they should have conversations with these employees to determine the support they need to remain productive.
Training these managers can give them the necessary knowledge and confidence they need to support employees with a disability. It equips them with the confidence to initiate and hold such conversations.
Implement Equal Pay for All Workers
The pay gap between those with disabilities and others without is high. In fact, many people with disabilities are forced to believe that it’s a favor to have that job and that they should be grateful. Such an attitude is demotivating and immoral as well as inherently unfair.
Employers that support employees with disabilities treat everyone fairly and pay them equally. This gives the employer the reputation of being diverse and inclusive. It also helps the company attract talent and create an engaged and collaborative workforce.
Working with people with a disability can be a great experience. It’s the duty of employers to give all their employees a great experience irrespective of their abilities. Aside from making their office accessible, they should design experiences that people with a disability want and need. This helps them to work and thrive.
Does your company have an employee with a disability share your experience with us about how you’re supporting them. Your story might help other employers when helping such employees.