Companies and organizations are increasingly realizing the need for incorporating diversity into their respective workplaces. As of present time, about 18% of people living with disabilities are employed. This means that there is a larger pool of disabled people who don’t have a job and are actively looking for one.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled people from being discriminated against on the basis of their disabilities. ADA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and it requires employers to provide the right environment in the workplace to accommodate employees with disabilities so they can do their jobs as required. This is as long as it does not cause the employer undue hardship such as high expenses.
How an Employer Can Ensure Their Workplace is Disabled-Friendly
Setting up the right measures to accommodating disabled employees is the first step towards employing more qualified disabled job candidates. The changes you make will have to make workspace accessibility easier for your new hire. If their mobility is compromised or their hearing or vision capabilities are impaired, you might need to acquire certain devices or tools to help improve their working functions and experience.
Physical accessibility should carry the highest priority. For instance, having ramps on the stairs of a building, incorporating braille in lifts, accessible washrooms, and disabled parking slots should make it easier for people on wheelchairs to move around and do their job more effectively, thus making the time they spend at the workplace a lot more enjoyable.
Acquiring assistive technology in the workplace helps disabled employees feel they are an active and integral part of the workforce. For example, most jobs nowadays require the use of computers and a company could invest in devices such as color-coded keyboards, braille keyboards, assistive listening devices, or speech to text tools that could all prove convenient for disabled employees to do their jobs effectively without too much of a hassle.
Employers can also tap external support or resources to train employees on the matters of disability. Several government agencies and non-profits are working hard to provide information and training to companies on the need, importance, and right approaches to hiring disabled people.
For an employer to build a diverse workforce, it is imperative that all employees are made familiar with the importance and commitment of the company to establish itself as disabled-friendly. This can be achieved through sensitized training workshops that will give full-bodied employees deeper insight and clarity of how best they can work with disabled people. This information could prove vital especially in the probable event of a work or health-related emergency.
Last but not least, a key factor for improving the setting in a work environment is to provide employees with honest and fair feedback without any bias to whether a respective employee is full-bodied or not. Showing leniency might affect the performance of disabled employees as they might not feel inclined to better their performance.
An inclusive workforce can boost productivity and ideas, consequentially building a good brand identity for the organization. With the aforementioned measures, all companies can create a positive disabled-friendly workplace.