Disability is not inability, and your business can make the most of the underused and the underappreciated one billion workers living with a disability globally. Incorporating people with disabilities into your workforce adds value to your talent pool, increases team performance, and gives you access to highly skilled candidates.
However, before onboarding people with disabilities onto your team, here are some crucial steps you should undertake to ensure safety, inclusivity, and productivity in the workplace.
1. Have an inclusive recruitment process
Most HR managers do not consider the needs of candidates with disabilities in their job posts. An inclusive recruitment process should focus on reaching all classes of prospective candidates. For instance, job posts should be written in large print and braille for those who are visually impaired. This increases the chance of reaching all groups of candidates.
During interviews, it is wise to have a sign language expert for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and the area should be accessible for visually impaired candidates. It would be best to eliminate any processes that may discriminate against disabled individuals or put them at a disadvantage.
2. Have a safe workspace
Does your workstation have wheelchair accessibility? Do you have special furniture for people with disabilities? Office modification is one of the reasons why HR managers avoid hiring people with disabilities.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed in 2005 , and made AODA training a legal requirement for all workers in the province of Ontario. What we can learn from the Ontario Disability Act is that your workplace should be free of hazards that can harm or hinder disabled employees. These hazards include untrained workers, and it is illegal to hire workers in Ontario who are untrained.
3. Demystify disability in your company
Many workplace myths associated with disabilities have created negative stereotypes, and the lack of knowledge can also drive a negative attitude within the workforce. As a manager or business owner, you should educate your staff on working with people with disabilities in your team meetings. Encourage your employees to treat their disabled colleagues with respect without any generalizations.
4. Implement equal pay for all
The Canadian Constitution requires employers to facilitate equal pay for all people, regardless of race, gender, religion, or disability. However, due to lack of job opportunities, many disabled people may be willing to take job offers with less pay. However, underpaying people with disabilities is illegal, unethical, and inhumane.
5. Keep clear communication channels.
Able-bodied employees may be unaware of the special needs required by their disabled coworkers. It is wise to communicate these new arrangements with everyone at the company and train them on the necessary consciousness required at the workplace.
As a manager or business owner, you should seek to offer an inclusive workplace for all employees, including people with disabilities. Implement inclusive policies in your workplace and bring your team up to speed with thorough training.