We believe at Work Connexions that everyone has something to contribute to society. It just finding what they are good at….
Understanding Disability and How it can Increase your Company Value
Disabled people have abilities, skills and experience that your business can benefit from. If you make a few adjustments in your policies and at your premises, and add flexibility to work arrangements, you could potentially open up jobs to many more recruits – often at little or no cost.
There are much bigger implications. If one follows the theory that a disabled person can understand for example your website. Then you are developing a clear concise infrastructure. I can not count the number of times that it has taken me 3 times as long to find the information on a badly designed website.
The cold statistics say that about 70 percent of the UK population suffers from one form or another of disability. This can included cognitive problems, through to eye sight problems. Understanding what makes a disability is the first step to acknowledging that your employees are all different and hence have to be treated individually to get the best from them.
There are sound business reasons for employing disabled people. You can:
- Widen your pool of candidates from which to recruit staff.
- Gain a competitive advantage by having a diverse workforce which can attract a diverse range of customers – there are over ten million disabled people in the UK, most of whom are potential customers and/or employees.
- Make your business more representative of the community and foster a better public image as a fair and inclusive business.
- Improve staff morale and loyalty to a business considered inclusive and representative.
- Avoid claims of unlawful disability discrimination.
The costs of making adjustments are often very small, and there is financial and practical help available to employers from a range of sources to help improve access and facilities for disabled people.
As well as considering adaptations to your workplace, you could consider employing disabled people as homeworkers. In many cases, their homes will already be equipped to meet their needs.
Letting disabled people to work for your business
You can encourage applications from, and avoid discrimination against, disabled people throughout the processes involved in recruiting and employing people.
- Avoid assumptions. Consider how – perhaps by slightly adjusting working environment or hours – the job could be done by various types of disabled people.
- Is working from home an option?
- What non-core functions could be reallocated elsewhere?
Advertising and recruitment
Job descriptions and person specifications shouldn’t discourage applications from disabled people. Include the phrase “applications from disabled people are particularly welcome”, or consider guaranteeing an interview for any disabled applicant who meets the minimum criteria. You may need to make adverts and documentation available in other formats, eg large print, and be prepared to accept applications in other ways, eg on tape.
Interviews and selection
Ensure the location and venue are accessible, and that selection procedures like tests don’t disadvantage disabled candidates.
Consider whether your induction training is accessible for disabled people. Ask the recruit about access needs during the induction.
Consider any needs of disabled people for training – eg your training programme should take into account an individual’s learning disability or condition, such as chronic backache.
Allow, and make adjustments for, disabled employees to undergo all training on offer and be fully involved in staff meetings. Don’t overlook disabled employees for promotion because they cannot do a certain task – it might be reasonable to assign tasks to other members of staff.
When you take disciplinary action against a disabled employee, ensure you’ve considered any reasons related to their disability for them behaving in the way that prompted the disciplinary action.
Assessing performance and capability
Make allowance for the disability when deciding whether their attendance/performance meets the needs of the job and your business. Some employers might offer ‘disability leave’ as a reasonable adjustment, ie where any absence necessitated by a disability is not counted.
Apply the same arrangements and requirements for redundancy for disabled people as for others. Ensure your selection criteria for redundancies don’t discriminate against disabled employees.