Building an inclusive workplace: Tips to support employees with disabilities

Lizzie Buxton

Written By Lizzie Buxton

20th July 2023

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Creating an inclusive environment is an opportunity that delivers a moral and strategic benefit to any organisation. This involves taking proactive steps to support and accommodate disabled employees, ensuring they have equal opportunities to succeed and contribute to the organisation’s success.

Explore these strategies that you can implement to provide support for disabled employees and foster an inclusive work culture that attracts and retains a diverse pool of talent.

  1. Promote a culture of inclusion

To build an inclusive culture, it all begins with strong leadership commitment and reflecting strong values throughout the organisation. Putting diversity and inclusion at the core of your business and making sure every employee understands its significance can help your employees feel valued.

Encouraging open dialogues, where individuals can freely share their experiences and perspectives, will raise awareness and foster understanding among colleagues, creating a truly inclusive workplace. Remember, everyone plays a part in building a culture of inclusion, from leadership to each and every team member.

  1. Provide reasonable accommodations

Inclusive workplaces prioritise reasonable accommodations, which are modifications or adjustments designed to empower disabled employees to excel in their roles. These accommodations encompass a range of possibilities, such as offering assistive technologies, ergonomic furniture, flexible work hours, adjusted job duties, or ensuring accessibility in workplace facilities.

By working closely with employees, you can pinpoint their individual requirements and customise accommodations to suit their needs effectively to ensure they can perform to the best of their ability. Embracing an environment that values and implements reasonable accommodations not only empowers disabled employees, but also fosters a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

  1. Offer accessibility training

Regular training sessions play a key role in educating all employees on disability etiquette, accessibility guidelines, and unconscious biases. By doing so, you cultivate empathy, heighten awareness, and foster a supportive work environment.

Encourage open discussions and invite questions from employees, ensuring a comfortable and respectful space for everyone. Remember, through continuous learning and dialogue, we can collectively build a workplace that embraces inclusivity and understanding.

  1. Implement inclusive hiring practices

When organisations are establishing a genuinely inclusive hiring process for disabled employees it’s crucial to be proactive. Begin by carefully crafting job descriptions and applications to emphasise essential skills, while avoiding unnecessary physical requirements. Providing multiple application channels, such as online forms or phone interviews, adds flexibility to the process.

During interviews, it’s essential to concentrate on candidates’ abilities and be prepared to offer reasonable accommodations, such as interpreters or accessible meeting spaces. By doing so, you create an environment that values and supports the unique needs of candidates. Embracing these changes demonstrates you have an unwavering commitment to diversity and accessibility, empowering all potential employees and celebrating their diverse abilities.

  1. Support career development and advancement

To ensure equal opportunities for career growth and advancement, readily providing disabled employees with the tools they need to thrive is paramount. Establishing mentoring programs, hosting training sessions, and offering professional development opportunities will empower them to enhance their skills and knowledge.

Encouraging disabled employees to take on leadership roles and actively participate in cultivating a diverse talent pipeline within the organisation will also not only nurture their potential but also strengthen the overall success of your workforce.

  1. Foster a supportive network

Consider establishing employee resource groups or affinity groups dedicated to connecting and supporting disabled employees. These groups offer valuable opportunities for sharing experiences and providing mutual support among members to allow them to feel comfortable talking in a group of employees in similar circumstances.

A supportive network can serve as an effective platform for advocating accessibility improvements, sharing essential resources, and actively promoting disability inclusion within your organisation.

  1. Regularly review and improve policies:

It is of utmost importance to proactively engage in the regular review and assessment of your disability inclusion initiatives. As a result, you demonstrate your commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace environment.

AdviserPlus highly recommend actively seeking feedback from your disabled employees to gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your current policies, programs, and practices as workplace needs may evolve over time, and by making the necessary adjustments, you can stay ahead in accommodating these changes effectively.

Remember, your dedication to disability inclusion not only enhances your organisational reputation but also creates a positive impact on the lives of your employees

As a Disability Confident Leader, we’re passionate about supporting organisations to become inclusive of disabled employees and we can help you to do just that.

Get in touch for a free 30-minute consultation to see how we can support you in becoming a Disability Confident organisation.

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