Creating a Disability-Friendly Workplace
Five steps to building a work environment that’s inclusive for all
In Australia, people with disability are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the general population. This tells us that there are still barriers that stop people accessing open employment.
Following on from initiatives like the Inclusive Employment Movement, which is helping to lower these barriers, what are some of the ways we can make our work environments more disability friendly?
Here we’ve rounded up a few ideas that can help people with disability succeed in the workplace.
1. Create opportunities for people to shine
One of the first things we can do to make someone feel included is to present them with opportunities. Given that we know it can be more difficult for people with disability to land a job in the first place, if there’s a chance to help with an opportunity that aligns to their skill set, why not offer it?
2. Involve the entire team in welcoming the new hire
Starting in a new workplace can be a difficult time as you adjust to new surroundings and discover your place within a team. It’s made much easier when those around you are friendly, kind, and supportive. Ask colleagues to check in with the new employee.
Another idea is to organise social opportunities for the new team to get to know each other and learn about everyone’s unique skills sets.
3. Offer training and upskilling
Getting your head around new tasks is a tricky part of starting any role. And training is the quickest way to get up to speed. It’s a good idea to check in frequently with your new hire to make sure they’re set up for success with the right tools.
One-on-one meetings are a great place to address any roadblocks and may be a more comfortable setting to discuss any challenges.
4. Be sure the work environment is physically accessible
Do a rundown of your workplace and make sure it’s physically accessible to all. This includes making sure there are ramp, elevator or lift options, and checking if all areas are accessible for those who might have reduced motor skills.
5. Tailor the role so it plays to the employee’s strengths
Matching tasks so that they align with a person’s skill set is a great way to get the most out of your employees. But sometimes people might need help identifying what their skills are or how they can best be applied within a new workplace.
As a manager, HR officer or business owner, there may be ways you can help people recognise how their unique skills can support your organisation’s goals.
For more information on employing people with disability, or to see how we can help you make your workplace more diverse with a new hire, get in touch today.