1. Hire someone with a disability.
There are close to half a million job-ready Canadians with disabilities, almost half of them with post-secondary education. Hire a talented candidate with a disability. They will bring fresh perspectives to your workplace.
2. Encourage disclosure.
You probably already have employees with disabilities – many disabilities are invisible. Make it safe for employees with disabilities to share work-relevant information about their disability. Create an open, supportive and disability-positive workplace culture.
3. Ask the Person.
Disability exists on a spectrum. No two people with a disability are the same. Find out what each employee needs to be productive at work. Don’t assume. Ask the person (ATP).
4. Offer workplace supports to everyone.
Providing workplace supports positively impacts employee engagement and retention, lowering turnover costs. Ask all employees what adjustments they need to be productive at work.
5. Rethink how you recruit and promote.
Design accessibility into your recruitment, interviewing, hiring, onboarding and development practices across all departments and at every level of your organization.
6. Don’t forget your digital recruiting tools.
Applicant Tracking Systems and candidate selection software may automatically screen out potential talented candidates with certain types of disabilities. Add an inclusive statement to your careers page and provide easily accessed alternative application pathways. Implement inclusive design thinking into your processes.
7. Design inclusively.
Inclusive products and services have the potential to reach a larger market. It can also lead to innovation. Inclusive design is simply better design!
8. Take it one step at a time.
Inclusive design too big and complex to tackle? Start in one area, perhaps the print on consumer product labels and instructions, or your print ads. Is the font size large enough for clients with low vision? What about the contrast level? Remember that by making it easy for people with low vision, which includes a large portion of our aging population, it will also be easier for everyone.
9. Communicate thoughtfully.
And that includes the language you use within your workplace. When there is a need to mention a disability, use people-first language to communicate with and about employees. Example: an employee with autism versus the autistic employee. If you are unsure of language, or etiquette when interacting with a person with disabilities, ask. Don’t assume. Ask the person (ATP).
10. Create trust through communications.
Listening to all employees with supportive intent facilitates trust and openness and will help guide the development of inclusive practices.
11. Consider your digital presence.
Who wants to turn away potential customers? An inaccessible website will do just that. Consider accessibility first when you design. Watch this fun video from Australia to learn more.
The audio version here.
12. Improve everyone’s experience.
Designing with disability in mind often makes it easier for all. For example, ramps benefit baby-stroller-pushing parents and couriers. Designing with disability in mind can also be a gateway to innovation. Captioning is a great example. Hire from the market to innovate and serve the market!
And one more thing…
Benchmark and re-evaluate to achieve better outcomes.
SenseAbility offers its members the opportunity to assess their inclusion initiatives across all business units to advance their objectives. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!