It’s important that disability be included as companies continue to adopt and strengthen diversity, inclusion and equality policies. Disability is often left out of inclusionary practices, but for true diversity to be reached, disabled people must be a part of the conversation.
Research shows that 26 percent of the American population is disabled. This makes inclusive design in physical and non-physical spaces crucial. Considering inclusive design from the beginning helps all people at all times.
Disabled people achieve successful employment with support and equal access. Employers can take these steps to include disability in the workplace with inclusive practices.
Disclosure of disability
Conversations go around and around in the disability community about if and when to disclose disability to an employer. With so much stigma revolving around disability, it can be a tricky situation to navigate.
Employers embracing disability and making clear efforts to include disability in the workplace, go a long way to support disabled employees and potential employees. For disabled people, this helps negotiate the conversation about disclosing said disabilities.
Diversity and inclusion teams should research and work with disability organizations that will provide education on creating an inclusive and diverse workforce.
The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy provides resources and programs to help companies make commitments to disability inclusion in the workforce.
Adopting disability inclusion into diversity policy
Offering disability awareness training
Fully embracing all abilities
These efforts help destigmatize disability, making it easier for disabled people to disclose their disability.
Research shows that companies are less likely to hire disabled people, even when they are more than qualified.
Remote employment became a well-known viable option in 2020. Remote opportunities opened employment doors for many disabled people previously limited for most employment.
Offering remote opportunities can:
Expand the hiring pool
Accommodate disabled and non-disabled employees alike
It shows an employer cares about disability in the workplace and is dedicated to strengthening inclusive practices.
One of the biggest employment obstacles for disabled people is the lack of accessibility. It’s frustrating and disheartening to bump up against accessibility barriers in the application process and when on the job.
Many disabled people speak about the lack of accessibility and how accessibility is an afterthought. Companies educated about disability access and implement it in inclusive practices take big steps to support the disabled workforce.
Companies should consider and execute inclusive design from the beginning.
Digital platforms accessible for blind and print-disabled people
Allowing remote opportunities
Providing captions and transcripts
These are just a few examples, but these accommodations should be ready and available.
Funding is often funneled into research and development supporting cures, technology and products to help disabled people. This can be important as long as disabled people are a part of the process. However, employers can help in other ways to make an impact.
Allotting resources, funds and energy into advocating for legislation directly impacting disabled people can positively affect the entire population.
Access to healthcare
Expanding public transportation
These are just a few disability-related issues consistently and currently advocated for on a legislative level. Supporting and advocating for these causes further helps disabled people and those who will become disabled. Providing inclusion and access strengthens diversity and equality efforts.
It’s another component in disability justice, affording disabled people true participation.
Hiring disabled people expands the hiring pool for employers. This leads to a stronger, more productive, inclusive work space for all employees.