There are 1.3 billion individuals with disabilities worldwide which amounts to one in seven of the global population. A total of 80% of that number acquire a disability between the ages of 18 and 64, yet disabled people are 50% less likely to have a job.
People with disabilities (PWDs) are the largest minority group in the world.
Disability does not discriminate. Anyone can acquire a disability during their lifetime.
According to the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Handbook for Parliamentarians,
“Everyone is likely to experience disability at some point during his/her lifetime because of illness, accident, or aging.”
Many recent studies have shown that disability inclusion in the workplace results in higher revenue, net income and profit margins. However, disability business inclusion is NOT just about employment. Any business who wants to maintain or increase market share must ensure that the needs of all customers are met across all business processes including marketing branding and promotion.
Here are some ideas for improving your company’s disability inclusion policies and practices.
1- Disability Awareness Training
- Include disability awareness equality training for all staff, e.g. related to combating unconscious bias, stigma and stereotypes. Employees will become more disability confident with colleagues and customers as a result.
- Ensure that any training undertaken by the company is accessible to employees with disabilities.
2- Improve Policies and Processes
- Have an explicit (general or disability-specific) policy and/or strategy, endorsed by senior management, to promote the inclusion of person with disabilities.
- Actively encourage job applications from person with disabilities, by explicitly welcoming applications by disabled candidates in job advertisements.
- Have a disability recruitment process, e.g. e-recruitment, inclusive interviews and accessible materials, reasonable accommodation for person with disabilities.
- Ensure on-the-job, apprenticeships, training, job retention, career development and other relevant terms and conditions of employment for person with disabilities.
- Provide work experience opportunities for person with disabilities, e.g. traineeships, apprenticeships, mentored internships.
3- Increase Accessibility
- Have a policy to ensure accessibility of internal and external Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) to person with disabilities.
- Is your company website compliant with the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0?
- Have a policy to ensure physical accessibility of business premises, including rented facilities.
Clare Kennelly is a Diversity, Disability and Organisational Culture Consultant based in Cork. Additionally, she is passionate about making Cork a leader in Inclusion.
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