How to Support Employees with Disabilities in the Workplace
Supporting disabled employees goes beyond hiring in the workplace. Focusing on accessibility in physical and remote workplaces, offering various accommodations, and emphasizing respect help create a welcoming and inclusive environment. To improve your company's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), you could focus on understanding disability inclusion and supporting employees with disabilities.
What is Disability Inclusion?
Disability inclusion is a vital part of DEI and refers to ensuring that individuals with disabilities receive fair compensation and equal opportunity to work, learn, and grow their careers. Inclusion in the workplace includes accommodating access to ramps, lifts, and restrooms. Beyond offering physical access to places, employers can also write disability employment in their recruitment policy, implement anti-discrimination and disability inclusion training, and offer equal pay and benefits to support disabled individuals in the company.
Why Does Disability Inclusion Matter?
Disability inclusion is essential for companies to stay compliant. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the workplace. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four Americans have a disability, but few share their disability with their employer. This means that some of your employees likely have a disability you never knew. For this reason, companies can recognize and support disabled individuals by offering workplace accommodations. In addition, putting policies in place and practicing inclusivity helps companies stay compliant and prioritize all of their diverse employees.
Benefits of Disability Inclusion in the Workplace
1. Larger Talent Pool
Individuals with disabilities represent a vast pool of people that most companies fail to recognize when looking to hire employees. According to a survey by Accenture, only 29% of working-age Americans with a disability are employed. Companies that embrace disability inclusion could gain access to a larger talent pool filled with more than 10.7 million people. Access to a larger talent pool helps solve common workplace issues like labor shortages and lack of company diversity.
2. Increases Team Diversity
Creating a work environment and team filled with diverse people brings a considerable advantage to a company over its competitors with less diverse workplaces. Disabled individuals bring a unique perspective to any team because it takes great perseverance, innovation, endurance, and dedication to problem-solving in the workplace. On top of their skills, disabled individuals may know far more than the average person by adapting or living with a different experience.
3. Higher Employee Retention
Employees with disabilities typically have higher retention rates than employees without disabilities, making it more cost-effective for companies to hire those with a disability. Disability inclusion can also lead to greater overall company profitability. Companies that excel at disability inclusion see 28% higher revenue than other companies over a four-year period, according to Accenture.
All in all, disability inclusion is crucial to any organization’s success. Including, supporting, and empowering disabled employees and applicants can offer positive outcomes in the workplace. Companies should always be open to interviewing and hiring individuals, not only because it's required but because there’s so much disabled individuals have to offer.
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