Simple but Effective Ways to Support Employees with Disabilities

Man with mechanical leg

It is no secret that people with disabilities have a hard time finding work. Employers rarely want to hire people with limited mobility, impaired visuals, or have difficulty hearing because of the amount of work it will take to train them and integrate them into the business process. However, it is also against the law to discriminate against people with disabilities. You could be losing potential skilled hires because of your insistence to only hire able people.

Instead of turning your back against people with disabilities, you should be equipping your office with aids for visually impaired persons and other disabilities such as deafness and limited mobility. There is no reason to neglect this sector of society because they can still be gainfully employed. They can contribute to the economy.

Integrate Accessibility Into the Recruitment Process

You might think you are open to accepting people with disabilities, but your recruitment process says otherwise. Make sure that people with disabilities can access information about the recruitment process. When they come in for an interview, provide documents in large print, Braille, or easy-read versions. If they have to fill up a form, make sure someone is there to dictate what’s written on the form. At the very least, print the form using large text so people can read it clearly.

What’s written on your job posting? Make sure to focus the job description on what the employee will do. Small factors might discriminate against people with disabilities. If something isn’t required for the work that they can apply for, don’t include that in the list of job responsibilities.

On the day of the interview, think about what they might need—a wheelchair ramp, hearing loops, and computer access. Making sure you have these tools will make people with disabilities feel welcome. They will know that you are the right fit for them.

Invest in Technology

There are plenty of tools, apps, and devices that cater to people with disabilities. There might be days when they cannot go to the office, offer to let them work from home instead. Do they need a special type of keyboard because they have vision problems? Provide one for them. How about high-quality headphones? People who are hard of hearing might need that to transact with your customers effectively.

Train Your People

Some of your employees—from the managers to the clerical staff—might not feel comfortable working with someone who has disabilities. Don’t take this against them. This is because of a lack of understanding and knowledge. Make them attend training, seminar, and programs that will help them better understand how to work with people with disabilities.

There are a lot of misconceptions about people with disabilities in the workplace. For example, some believe that they have a higher absence rate compared to ordinary workers. They don’t. The truth is that 90% of employers said that their employees with disabilities take days off only when it’s legally allowed for them to do so.

Honesty With Feedback and Appraisal

When giving feedback and appraisal to your employees, be as honest as you can be. Your employees might notice that you handle your employees with disabilities with kid gloves. That will make them feel neglected. It will look like you favor another employee when you’re just sensitive to that employee’s needs.

Simultaneously, this can affect their ability to detect drawbacks and be better at their work. How will they know that they need to improve? If you are not honest with them about your demands as an employer, you are not giving them a chance to better themselves.

Modify Work Arrangements

Female using laptop while smiling

Be open to the possibility that some of your employees with disabilities will need to work from home sometimes. If they are not comfortable driving when there’s a heavy downpour, for example, give them that option to work from home. You should, of course, set some guidelines so that there’s no abuse of this policy.

When organizing events outside the office, make sure that there are accessibility options in the venue. You cannot allow your employees with disabilities to stay in the office or at home because you forgot about their limited capacities. Not only is it unfair, but it’s a morale killer, too.

Accommodating people with disabilities is extra work. But if all employers only learn to open opportunities for this sector, then there will be a lot less inequality in the world. It is time for employers to do their part in making this a better and fairer world. Making it possible for people with disabilities to build careers is the first step to that.

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