Offering training and accommodations for workers with a disability allows organizations to create a more inclusive workplace and attract diverse talent. Here’s how.
Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA)
Passed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal civil rights law meant to protect individuals with disabilities from workplace discrimination. In addition, the Act requires employers and organizations to provide reasonable accommodations for their employees who have disabilities.
Organizations with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, labor organizations, and more, must have measures in place that allow those with a disability to perform their duties with the appropriate modification to a work environment. Reasonable accommodations also ensure the same rights and privileges in employment that are afforded to employees without disabilities.
For organizations, accommodating employees with disabilities can result in higher productivity, tax incentives for accommodations, and a more competitive organization in the eyes of prospective talent. In part because of the organization’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Being Proactive with Accommodations & Accessibility
When it comes to creating a truly inclusive organization, it’s best to be proactive when you begin implementing accommodations for those who have a disability.
Recruiting and Interviewing
If your current recruitment and interview process isn’t easily accessed with easy-to-read versions of your job descriptions, take time to ensure your job postings are compatible with a screen reader program.
Additionally, consider your current interview process. If you’re interviewing candidates in person, does your building have wheelchair access? First-round phone or virtual interviews can also be a good accommodation for certain candidates.
And, while companies are commonly holding more rounds of interviews to ensure they’re finding the very best candidate, not everyone will be able to attend four or five rounds of hour-long interviews. Consider your interview and hiring process from an outside perspective so you can adjust accordingly. You don’t want to lose out on great talent simply because your interview process is too long!
While wheelchair accessibility or handrails will help make your work environment more accommodating for those with physical disabilities, you’ll also want to consider adjusting the workspace for those with neuro-divergent conditions as well.
For example, bright lights, noisy offices, and heavy patterns on the walls can hinder someone’s focus if they experience ADHD, dyslexia, or autism. Think about using natural light throughout the workspace, providing noise-canceling headphones to team members, or even establishing a quiet room for breaks when needed. Of course, remote work options are perhaps the most effective solution for accommodating team members with neuro-divergent conditions.
Other factors include thinking about your team members’ commute to work, implementing assistive technologies such as screen readers or amplified phones, or arranging client meetings at accessible locations.
Above all else, be sure to openly communicate with team members who have disabilities to ensure that they are accommodated and set up for success.
Practice Open Communication with Managers and Team Members
Managers who haven’t worked with individuals with disabilities before may feel intimidated by the idea. Since the goal of a manager is to help team members succeed, they’ll want to understand how they can best offer support. Additionally, team members may want guidance as well.
To help create an inclusive workplace, engage in open communication and have regular DEI conversations, strive to focus on the strengths of each individual in your organization — and offer support when needed.
Empower Your Whole Team with The Simmons Advantage
The Simmons Advantage can help your organization implement diversity, equity, and inclusion training for workers with a disability that will benefit your entire business. Harness your productivity, help your team be at their best, and create a lasting impact with our workplace solutions.
You can get started by scheduling a consultation.