Disability Inclusion in the Workplace

Last week our very own Liz Norman was part of the panel with for the MRS Unlimited Festival focusing on embracing, hiring and supporting those with debilities in insights.

Liz has ran ENI company for 33 years now and admits to rarely coming cross anyone with a disability in that time, so was surprised to find out that 20% of the working population are disabled.

One of the points mentioned I think worth highlighting is that 40% of disabled people who were previously excluded from the workplace are now able to work from home with the way things have changed – flex and remote working is becoming more and more common worldwide.

In reality, the UK isn’t good at thinking outside the box when it comes to recruitment. This webinar should give companies some insight to make it easier to employ people with disability and dropping the barriers. Disability is the biggest exclusion factor in the industry, below I’ve listed some of the more common barriers companies face and how they can overcome them – all of which are commented on in the webinar.

Barriers in industry:

  • People want to hire – only if it’s simple! They don’t have to worry about how to train people with disabilities or integrate them into the workforce.
  • Process – onboarding, training and hiring. Companies are lacking really slick processes.
  • Often organisations perceive barriers that aren’t always there for the individual – how they intend to travel to the office, working comforts etc. – companies aren’t using their initiative as to 1. how candidates might already overcome this but also 2. how can they personally support people with disability.
  • Some people feel awkward asking about an individual’s disability out of fear of getting it wrong or saying the wrong thing – we need to take that fear away and allow people to ask questions and dig deeper as to how they can support.
  • Assumption that they need a lot of support in work when they don’t always, or that there will be a huge cost – sometimes it can just be processes or minor costs!
  • People feel they are less likely to declare a disability over fear of not getting a job or losing a job based on costs that might come along with this.
  • Can seem quite lonely for people in companies as its not commonly spoken about.

What should we do:

  • Ask questions to understand
  • Create a comfortable environment where people are happy to share information
  • Provoke action internally if you don’t see any support or change happening
  • Share jobs on inclusive job boards – go beyond LinkedIn
  • Ensure you have a robust processes – enough capacity to deal with challenges and changes
  • Show employees you are on their side!
  • Provide disability awareness training
  • Be transparent about what you are doing internally to support people with disabilities – it makes people feel far more comfortable and means they have full transparency
  • Office design – is your office set up so that it is easily accessible for wheelchair users or those that need aid when walking?
  • Ambassadors for businesses – how they are progressing, what they are doing to make people feel more comfortable about joining a business
  • Get the top level to commit to change
  • Look at your recruitment process and ensure its inclusive
  • Create a culture within the organisation where any topic is on the table to discuss

There’s a lot of work to be done and at ENI, we are committed to being part of changing how people with disabilities are treated in the workplace. Take a look at day 4 of the unlimited festival to find out more.

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