An estimated 135 million people in Europe are disabled and inclusion at work has never been such big news. Bringing in disabled employees has become a priority area for growth for companies enriched by diversity. Let's look into 5 ways to build a more inclusive and respectful company for all its staff!
Disability awareness in the company
To help disabled employees settle in, gently addressing their induction with an original and playful twist is essential. You could do it with disability awareness workshops at work (sign language classes, sensory trails) or give out handy Q&A cards to review common misconceptions and clichés about disability.
These workshops will successfully combat any bias. They're just as useful for employees as they are for managers, key figures in inducting new staff. There are many organisations who can help you and bring your ideas to life. Feel free to ask for support!
Suggest your colleagues learn sign language
to help deaf people settle in
Improve your HR policy in terms of inclusivity
Diversity and inclusivity in business begins at the recruitment stage. Firstly, use alternative methods to get the team involved in recruitment.
Have you heard of testing? It's the best tool to assess discrimination upon hiring: it analyses how differently two almost identical applications are treated. The French government has promoted the tool and rolled out several waves of testing companies to combat discrimination (origin-based only). However, this method only addresses the first phase of recruitment (shortlisting CVs) and not job interviews which could also be affected by discrimination.
To hire and help disabled people settle in, the company can also call on disability partners. They provide support to businesses building and implementing a more inclusive HR policy. Companies can also ask service providers (usability, specialists in certain disabilities) to help them make any necessary changes.
Last but not least, once new disabled employees have been inducted, professional development courses will help them progress at work and flourish in the company.
A buddy system can help disabled
employees to settle in
Prioritise and promote diversity
In and outside the workplace, greater diversity means greater creativity. A variety of profiles fuels mental agility and boosts performance. As long as disabled employees are respected as individuals, they have the chance to flourish at work.
Facebook has got the idea with staff "resource groups" who share similar values and come together to encourage diversity and inclusivity in the company.
Among the resource groups is “Differently Abled” which works to raise awareness, internally and externally, about the issues and opportunities facing the disabled community. For example, it hosts Disability Employment Awareness Month in October alongside conferences and virtual events to raise disability awareness far and wide.
Focus on quality of life at work
Creating a climate of trust and motivating disabled employees means making quality of life at work the focus of the business strategy. Internally, that involves implementing an all-encompassing system and inclusivity policy based on wellness at work: from setting up work stations to supporting disabled employees, businesses must ensure they are working in the best conditions to thrive.
Ready to make disability part of the business strategy but not sure what to do?
There's lots of support and funding available to encourage inclusivity among disabled people - all depending on your country and your government’s policy. There are also consultants who can help companies and accreditations which are there to make an inclusivity policy an integral part of the business.