Eight Ways to Prioritize Disability Inclusion in the Workplace
October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and at TeamSoft, we want to take the time to highlight some of the ways employers can ensure disability inclusion in the workplace.
Disability inclusion is a strategy for understanding and addressing the unique needs of an individual with disabilities. This includes physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, and social impairments that make it challenging to perform certain functions.
Employers should recognize that individuals with disabilities have different needs and perspectives from others. You can do this by surrounding yourself with individuals who have unique experiences and viewpoints to help create a more inclusive environment. Understanding the needs of individuals with disabilities and adjusting accordingly is key to team morale and business success.
How to Promote Disability Inclusion in the Workplace
Sight and hearing impairments and cerebral palsy are just some of the disabilities that are often overlooked or not considered in the workplace. The suggestions below can be implemented quickly by any organization looking to foster a more inclusive environment.
Ensure Your Content Is Inclusive
One way to include individuals with disabilities in the workforce is to pay close attention to how you communicate with them. This includes language, terminology, and video content. You’ll also want to determine if you are currently meeting ADA standards to ensure that your content is accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Create Safe Spaces at Work
Creating a safe space for employees with disabilities can help foster a work environment inclusive of the challenges they face on the job. Employers can do this by ensuring that your technology is accessible and that you have reasonable accommodations, including allowing employees to take breaks or deal with personal matters as needed.
Get Buy-In from Leadership
When creating an inclusive environment for those with disabilities in the workplace, getting buy-in from leadership is critical. A leader who will advocate for your cause is a significant first step. It shows that you’re taking serious, actionable steps to include and enable all your employees, regardless of their disabilities.
Direct conversation and engagement with leadership can help make a big difference in your ability to foster workplace inclusion. We recommend having this conversation at least twice per year: once during the appointment of team leaders (usually during employee orientation) and again at the annual planning meeting for senior management.
Form a Committee
In addition to having conversations with leadership, creating a formalized committee in your company is another way to bring more inclusion to the workplace. This committee is most effective when comprised of team members from all levels and departments of the organization. Disability inclusion committees aim to create a working group environment in which all individuals with disabilities feel they have a voice and can contribute to finding opportunities to adjust the workplace when needed.
Another critical aspect of creating a safe work environment for employees with disabilities is making sure that accommodation is available when needed. This includes everything from accessible tools and software to wheelchair ramps to flexible work schedules.
Keep Open Communication with Your Team
Encouraging open communication is vital when it comes to promoting disability inclusion at work. Employers can achieve this by creating a safe space (look back to point number two!) to discuss fears and concerns such as those around work satisfaction, and by ensuring that all team members have access to the resources and tools they need to perform their jobs to the fullest.
Recognize and Reward Performance
Many employees with disabilities believe that they don’t receive recognition or rewards at work due to how their disabilities affect their performance. This can make it difficult for them to see themselves as contributing members of your community and prevent them from being included in initiatives like team-building events. When you reward performance, you can convey that you value the contributions of all team members.
Audit Your Hiring Process
Employers can better their disability inclusion efforts by assessing job requirements before hiring, offering disability-friendly interview prep materials and workspace options, and by providing onsite accessibility training for all new employees.
Looking to Be More Inclusive in Your Hiring Process?
At TeamSoft, diversity and inclusion are near and dear to our hearts. We hope this blog has given you some ideas on promoting disability inclusion in the workplace. As one of the leading firms for IT talent solutions, we’re constantly looking for ways to foster inclusive workplace environments and hiring processes for employers. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help.