Disability Awareness for Employers
2nd August, 2021
It is well documented that there are numerous business advantages to having a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Despite this, studies have shown that disabled people remain underrepresented in the workplace and as such businesses may missing out on a pool of untapped skills and talent.
Here are our four key tips for disability awareness for employers and how to design an inclusive culture for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions in the workplace.
Design An Inclusive Recruitment Process
Designing an inclusive recruitment process to attract a wide range of applicants will allow everyone, including those with a disability or long-term health conditions, to demonstrate their skills, abilities and potential.
To attract a wider pool of applicants:
- Emphasise your organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion to demonstrate all applicants are welcome to apply.
- State that adjustments are available in the recruitment process.
- Provide a contact point who can answer any questions and discuss the adjustments available.
- Set out the benefits your organisation offers such as flexible and remote working initiatives.
- Advertise the vacancy using different forms of media to reach a wider range of people.
Consider whether you need to make any adjustments at each stage of the recruitment process to ensure that an applicant is not at a disadvantage. This could be as simple as allowing additional time during recruitment exercises or offering communication support, such as a phone call to discuss a CV.
Encourage A Positive And Supportive Culture Towards Health and Wellbeing
Not all disabilities are visible and there is no legal requirement for employees to disclose their disability to their employer (subject to any Health and Safety obligations). By adopting a positive approach to health and wellbeing, staff are more likely to be open about their health concerns and explore possible adjustments to help them overcome any potential barriers. Any disclosure should be treated as confidential and should not be shared with colleagues unless express consent has been obtained.
Employers can help demonstrate this through promoting events and activities such as Disability Awareness Month and Mental Health Awareness Week.
Training And Development
Implementing training can help drive a shift in the workplace culture around disability. Non-profit or panel speakers can be invited to present training sessions or training can be given internally through peer-led sessions. A particular focus should be given to line managers who are often the first point of contact for employees to discuss any health concerns and who have an ongoing responsibility to implement people management policies and practices. Examples of training sessions could include Unconscious Bias Training and Disability Etiquette to educate staff on the correct terminology and behaviours around disability.
Employers are required by law to make reasonable adjustments for people with a disability. Reasonable adjustments must be considered on a case by case basis, depending on the severity of the disability, the job role and the individual concerned. Employers should speak to the individual to understand the issues they are experiencing as they are the best judge of their ability and are likely to know what adjustments would make the most difference. Employers can also seek specialist advice to understand what adjustment would be better suited and can then make an informed decision as to what sorts of adjustments are reasonable.