How to be a more inclusive employer for people with disability

When employers are more inclusive of people with disability, everybody wins. 

Organisations can attract and retain quality staff from the widest talent pool, enjoy a happy and fulfilling work environment, and give all employees the tools to thrive and progress.

If you’re an employer looking to gain all these wonderful benefits while also providing equal employment opportunities, these tips will help you build a successful and inclusive workplace that everyone can enjoy.

1. Start with education

Many organisations want to be more inclusive but are unsure of how to set themselves up as a disability-friendly space.

Workplace culture is led from the top, so a good first step is to help your leadership team access education around the values, principles and policies that go into creating an inclusive workplace. 

When leaders are informed, they go on to spread that knowledge and have a positive effect on the entire organisation.  

If you’re not sure where to start, say hello to our friendly team who can give you some ideas, or check out some of these great online resources.

2. Speak with those in the know

Nearly 9 million households in Australia include a person with a disability. And over 34% of people with disability are working professionals. This makes your team the greatest resource you have when it comes to creating an inclusive workplace.

Always actively seek advice from people who understand what it means to have a disability first hand. They’ll have the most accurate advice on what it means to be inclusive.

Conduct staff surveys, hold group discussions and develop an open-door culture in your workplace so that everyone feels respected and comfortable to have their voice heard.

3. Develop an Accessibility Action Plan

Put together an Accessibility Action Plan that demonstrates your intention to be a more inclusive workplace, including the steps you will take to get there.

Your plan should cover how your workplace will make its products and services accessible to people with disability, and inform the public on how you’re approaching diversity and inclusion.  

If you need guidance creating your own Accessibility Action Plan get in touch with our team for help.

4. Ensure your premises and workstations are accessible

One of the employment barriers people with disability face are when physical premises, workstations or tools aren’t designed to accommodate their needs.

The good news is that it often only takes a few adjustments to create a workspace that’s accessible for those who require it. 

Some features that help improve workplace accessibility are:

  • Ramp access for wheelchair users
  • Talking monitor technology that assists both visually and hearing impaired employees read from a computer
  • Access to height adjustable or specially-fitted desks
  • Ergonomically designed tools that assist people with movement difficulties
  • Provide additional support for manual handling tasks
  • Conduct a manual handling risk assessment with a specialist manual handling consultant

5. Be open to flexible arrangements

Since COVID-19, many employers have embraced flexible working arrangements for their teams. On top of encouraging productivity for the wider team, flexible working arrangements can be especially helpful for people with disability. 

For example, some workers may have the right skills for the job but find that shorter shifts help them maintain concentration. Another person may have a physical disability that makes commuting to the office every day tiring and would therefore benefit from the option to work from home some days.

By offering flexible working arrangements, you can accommodate great talent from a wider spectrum of the workforce.

6. Update your policies

Review your existing policies to ensure they’re in line with the Disability Discrimination Act. These policies address workplace equality, employee welfare, working conditions and ensure that everyone can enjoy dignity and respect in the workplace.

7. Eliminate biases in the recruitment process

Many employers aren’t aware that their recruitment processes may be causing roadblocks for capable candidates with a disability. Update your recruitment policies to remove any subconscious bias and make sure:

  • You include inclusive language in your job ads so they focus on task outcomes, rather than the process it takes to get there
  • That all your documents are compatible with screen reader technology
  • You advertise through Disability Employment Services
  • There’s a diversity statement in your job ads
  • You only enforce health checks if absolutely necessary
  • You’re open to educational and employment gaps
  • You’re aware that some candidates may require a support person or interpreter with them for their interview
  • Selection panels are diversified to include different backgrounds and perspectives

8. Collaborate as a team

The configuration of your workplace should encourage collaboration between employees from different teams and organisational levels. Rather than separating people based on their abilities, try moving workstations around so that everyone has a chance to interact. If this isn’t possible try hosting team building activities that can break the ice and spark new friendships.

When people from diverse backgrounds and abilities have the chance to share their skills and experiences, everybody wins.

If you’re ready to gain all the wonderful benefits that come with making your workplace more inclusive for people with disabilities, get in touch with the friendly Mambourin team today.

As well as having plenty of tips to help employers welcome diverse employees into their organisation, our traineeships and supported employment teams are full of eager candidates who are ready for open employment across a range of industries.

Want to partner with us on your next project? Check out Our Business Solutions.

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