Setting up a workplace to be inclusive to all employees is a huge win for all parties involved
Ensuring that your company does everything in its power to make all employees feel equally secure, empowered, and challenged, is not easy. However, it’s a worthwhile undertaking that’s been shown to bring a wide range of benefits to the entire company. This, of course, is much easier said than done.
It takes time to establish an all-inclusive company culture.
Such a move requires valuable company resources to find ways to provide the necessary support for employees of various skills and backgrounds. Even so, it’s necessary. A more productive workplace, with high-morale employees who feel comfortable, welcome, and accepted, awaits those who make an effort to transform their workplace.
But, how exactly do you do that? A good start would be to take a proactive approach.
As an employee or a prospective candidate, you might not feel like you can do much to change the company’s culture. But, you can! There are ways that you can influence, or at the very least, assess, just how inclusive your workplace is. We’ll walk you through various ways to put your current and prospective employer to the test to see if they have successfully eliminated the barriers preventing them from fielding an inclusive workplace. We’ll also help you identify what kind of changes you can bring about to help achieve the goal of working in a more diverse and welcoming workplace.
5 Ways to Put Your Employer to the Test
1. Continued investment in education and training
It’s important for employers to learn more and start educating themselves, as well as their employees, about disabilities. The best companies make an effort to learn more about how to manage differences of their employees within the workplace. Steps should be taken to try and educate all employees about different disabilities, starting with the on-boarding process. Doing so helps create an inclusive and accommodating workplace culture for all employees, right from everyone’s first day.
Educating employees by informing them and making them more aware is good, but it’s not nearly enough. Providing training for all employees, especially leadership, to better prepare them to manage a more diverse team of individuals, as well as when and how to provide the necessary assistance, can go a long way in making an inclusive and disability-friendly workplace environment.
Continued and consistent quality training helps break down the barriers of communication between all employees. This allows everyone in the workplace to know how to better handle all kinds of situations, especially emergencies concerning the different employees that make up the workplace.
2. Resources and services are provided for people with disabilities
Making improvements and making workplaces more inclusive isn’t always about finances. A trusted resource of workplace and employment issues, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), states that half of the things that employers can do to make their workplace more accommodating to people with disabilities that won’t cost them any money.
What are the said adjustments? An example offered by JAN includes the employer allowing an employee with post-traumatic stress disorder the use of a service animal. This cost the company zero money. However, by making the decision to accommodate the employee’s request, they retained a well-qualified worker that most likely will not resign anytime soon. This is just one of the many adjustments a company can make to its workplace more accommodating.
3. Accessibility is a priority
Accessibility can mean everything for some people. From disabled-friendly parking spaces to accessible doorways for those in wheelchairs, as well as ramps in all the common areas and disability-friendly washrooms, are just some of the basic necessities that some employees require to move around properly and get their work done with little to no hindrances.
If the workplace itself, as well as the company website, and other communication materials, are made to be accessible to disabled users, then that’s a good sign.
4. Makes use of assistive technology
Modern technology has made it easier than ever for everyone in the workplace to contribute. The advent of computers, for example, helped make the workplace more inclusive. Later on, more assistive technology aids, from apps to software, as well as other tools, have been developed to help employees with different physical and mental needs carry out their work with minimal issues. Such aids can include anything from colour-coded keyboards, assistive listening devices, sign language software, as well as customised internet browsers, among others. Having assistive aids is just the start — relevant training on how to use this technology is arguably more important.
5. Open to feedback
As an employee of the company, how do you feel? Do you feel like you have all the necessary tools at your disposal to do your job effectively? If not, what else can your employer do to accommodate your needs better? Honest, fair and unbiased feedback from people like you is a tell-tale sign of just how inclusive the workplace is.
Just as important is how willing the company is to listen to feedback is how urgently they act on it. Listening to feedback is of no use if nothing is done. If that’s the case, then the workplace doesn’t evolve and change, leaving few opportunities for employees to grow and realize their potential.
While it’s important that employers actively try to make the workplace more friendly for everyone, part of that also includes training management to know how to effectively lead and mentor all employees.
Finding and keeping a job can be challenging. If you have a disability, injury, or health condition we may be able to help you find and keep a job. Join thousands of job seekers who have been given a new start, new skills and a new job through DSA. We find employment that fits you, not the other way around. Call us today at 1300 372 121 or make an enquiry here.