Employees with disabilities bring a diverse, new, and unique talent and perspective to the workplace. The disabled workforce is sadly underemployed in today's politically correct world. The main reason being not all organizations are equipped or sensitized enough to include this largely ignored talent pool.
Here are a few ways that this negligence can be improved upon.
HR Policies for Disabled Workforce
Awareness and Sensitization of Organizations
Bring awareness about how disabled people can be included in your organization. Statistics prove that a large population of the disabled workforce are unemployed. Unfortunately, 67% of Americans with disabilities aged 16-64 are not working.
The main reason being non-awareness about the issue, and a bias against employing people with disabilities. There are misconceptions that people with disabilities need higher health benefits, need more time off from work, and are unable to contribute much to the organizations.
To overcome these perceptions, it is important to have sensitizing talks, training sessions, and workshops about how to handle a dibbled workforce.
Proactive Role of HR
The Human Resource department should insist on hiring people with disability in certain roles.
There should be mentorship and training programs for people with disabilities to make their work-life smoother and easier.
Adjustments and Accommodation
The law requires that companies make accommodations for people with disabilities to return to work after a prolonged illness. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for those experiencing “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.”
The accommodation can be in the form of a flexible work schedule, the installation of software that helps them perform their job better; a move to another department or city nearer to health facilities or home; the addition of a ramp and disabled- friendly restrooms
Companies should have best practices included in their company policies for people with disabilities.
They should include awareness programs, better benefits, flexible schedules, an open and inclusive culture, training and educational opportunities for skill improvement.
Make use of Assistive technology
In today’s digital world, there are many softwares, tools and apps that make the task much easier for people with disabilities to perform their tasks better.
Color-coded keyboards, Braille displays, screen reading software, assistive listening devices, speech recognition and sign language apps, and browsers that provide user-friendly and customizable web interface are some of the new world techs to make life easier for people with disabilities..
Most importantly, involve the dibbled workforce in chalking out future policies and welcome their input in the implementation of the same. Incorporate any innovative solutions that arise from any personal narratives and difficulties.
Having an inclusive and diverse workforce is mandatory in most countries not only in government and public enterprises but in private too to some extent. Governments provide many incentives and tax breaks to firms and companies meeting this inclusive quota. But having a diverse and inclusive workforce should not be a compulsion, Human Resource departments of organizations and the leadership should actively adopt a culture where it is the norm to have a diverse workforce rather than the exception.