Four Ways to Recognise and Improve Disability-Inclusion in Your Workplace
“A disability doesn’t have to be a social barrier. Good etiquette begins with inclusion, not exclusion” —Robert M. Hensel
I remember coming across this quote that immediately caught my attention. It made me wonder: despite the countless articles about the advantages that people with disabilities can offer to their employers, many companies often refrain from hiring people with disabilities.
Even though hiring people with disabilities would be the “right thing to do’’, many managers and employers do not see this as a talent strategy that would benefit the company—as most of them believe that the potential expenses and risks outweigh the advantages.
Having said that, let's take a look at the four ways that companies can improve their thinking with new strategies to be more inclusive towards the disabled community.
ONE: Identify and rectify processes that support biases
Identify if your recruiting or hiring process is encouraging or discouraging applicants with disabilities. For example, at Microsoft, many employers and managers realised that people on the autistic spectrum were not being hired despite having vast knowledge and intellect. They soon identified that there was an issue in the interview and hiring process. Microsoft then decided to make a change by working with local autism-support organisations to bring candidates for a different type of evaluation process. This way they won’t overlook strong candidates that hold great strengths despite their disabilities.
TWO: Help all employees understand different challenges that people with disabilities face and contribute solutions
Companies should implement disability and empathy training for all employees with and without any disabilities. The main goal of these training sessions is to help employees better understand and empathise with the struggles and challenges their colleagues face, and to reduce the stigma of being disabled. Additionally, employees must be aware about the various tools and accommodations that should be made available to people with disabilities to ensure that they are safe and comfortable.
TRHEE: Strengthen hiring processes by engaging disability support groups
Many companies often encounter challenges with the first step of identifying candidates with disabilities. This is because many people with disabilities are reluctant to apply for jobs as they don’t believe that their talent would be of interest to companies. Fortunately, this fix is not difficult. Companies could start a recruitment process by engaging with social groups that support being with disabilities. For example, four years ago, T-Mobile started sponsoring the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.
FOUR: Create a mutually supportive environment
People with disabilities in senior positions should consider becoming mentors to other employees and advocate for training programs and coaching to ensure that people with disabilities get to develop and succeed in their roles.
This is the fourth part of a series of articles on empathy. The next article will be up next Thursday, so watch this space!
For more information about our award-winning, globally-recognised empathy workshop, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +60182968828. Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.