Working with employees with disabilities is becoming a norm these days. No longer are these people considered incapable of contributing to a company’s success, but most of them are even becoming invaluable assets. However, you have to ensure that they’ll enjoy working with your team by supporting them in the following ways:
1. Pay Them Equally
Make sure there is no pay gap between your employees at all levels. Instead, you must pay employees with disabilities equally as you would others. Please don’t make them feel any less of an employee. Not only is it inherently unfair, but it can demotivate them. They may not give their best work since they think you’re paying them based on their disabilities and not their skills.
Moreover, it may be best to offer assistance when applying for benefits or claims for people with disabilities. Avoid making it hard for them to comply with the requirements of such benefits.
Familiarize yourself with the full list of qualified conditions and requirements for Social Security Disability (SSD) and others. That way, you can easily prepare the documents that your employees would need.
2. Change The Work Culture
A workplace culture that practices fair treatment and open communication is something that everyone wants to experience. Start by organizing seminars or training that can educate non-disabled employees on their colleagues’ difficulties and unique needs in their personal and professional lives.
Your team would be more inspired by resource speakers whose advocacy is to help people with disabilities. The goal here is to encourage an environment of inclusivity, ensuring that everyone supports each other. This may also help improve company morale and promote teamwork.
3. Add Assistive Technologies Into The Workplace
Consider the situation of your employees with disabilities. Ensure that warning signages are visible and can be easily seen by many. Doors must be easy to push and pull, especially for employees in wheelchairs.
Make sure they have accessible bathrooms specifically designed for people with disabilities. Install assistive technologies to make your office more accessible and friendly for the disabled. These include enlarged keyboards, screen enlargement apps, voice recognition, closed captioning, and screen-reading software.
4. Implement Remote Work And Flexible Working Hours
Given the current situation, businesses can still function even when employees work from home. Your workplace may still be accessible to some, but working remotely might be more effective, especially for people with disabilities. Your team will avoid the stress of commuting to and from the workplace, saving them money and time.
Other employees may also find it helpful if they have flexible working hours. Work with your team in creating work schedules so that the task at hand can still be accomplished in time.
In return, this could create a pleasant reputation in favor of your business. Your company will attract more talents to help your company grow since more job seekers are looking for a considerate leader who is inclusive and diverse.
5. Align Your Language With Inclusiveness
As an employer, it’s recommended to build an inclusive environment. A workplace with an inclusive environment is where employees can freely express their points of view and opinions and be who they are.
They should be able to do these things without feeling harassed, criticized, or embarrassed. It should also be a place where they can work with peace of mind, a place that can accommodate their unique needs.
Besides creating an inclusive environment, the language you use in the workplace should also be welcoming. Avoid showing distinction in attitude by using terms that may make employees feel awkward or different.
For instance, referring to people with no disability as ‘normal’ may induce tension and disagreements between team members. When talking or chatting with employees, ensure the language used is respectful.
As a leader, you should lead by example and foster an environment of inclusiveness.
6. Conduct A Survey
A survey creates an avenue for your employees to share their sentiments and suggestions. As an employer, this is your way of asking for help on how to improve the company’s overall employee experience.
Make it an anonymous survey to make them more comfortable in providing feedback about the company, management, and you as their boss.
When you take care of your employees, especially the ones with disabilities, you foster an excellent working culture. You’re creating a company that makes it safe for every team member regardless of their unique features. And when other companies hear about it, you can gain a better reputation in your industry.