Creating a More Inclusive Workplace For Persons With Disabilities
Here are some ways for employers to create opportunities for employees with disabilities.
Progressive organisations understand the importance of a diverse workforce. While 3.4% of residents aged 18 to 49 in Singapore have a disability, they make up only 0.55% of the labour force¹. How can employers create opportunities for employees with disabilities? Follow these tips to cultivate a conducive work environment to engage and retain Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Adjust mindset and workplace culture
Creating an inclusive work environment requires a cultural shift. Leadership can make the single biggest impact in inciting this change. Start with setting the tone at the top and ensuring ongoing communication by working with the leadership to commit to an accessible and inclusive workplace
Review and refine job roles and processes
In situations where potential employees do not fit into traditional job roles, or when current employees become disabled, organisations can do a review of job requirements and workplace processes. By doing so, employers can better develop or redeploy PWDs in roles that leverage on their strengths. If the lack of workplace accessibility and transportation is a concern for PWDs, consider offering flexible work arrangements to enable them to contribute.
Relook at your programmes and practices
Ensure your existing programmes, such as onboarding or career development, reflect a PWD-inclusive culture. For example, a customised onboarding programme for PWDs should include disability-specific information such as procedures when requesting for workplace accommodations. Always put in place a clear and objective performance management process to ensure all employees are fairly considered for all opportunities. Proper training and education for all staff can also help to dispel wrong assumptions of PWDs’ abilities. This, in turn, can minimise disruptions between PWDs and co-workers.
Improve workplace design and accessibility
Improved accessibility benefits everyone.Yet, it does not necessarily require significant expense. Some cost-effective ways include provisions such as removing a cubicle panel to widen the entrance to the workspace, and installing larger screens for those with visual impairment. All these can have a large impact on PWDs’ productivity. In addition, assistive technology, such as screen readers, can enable them to use computers. Measures like having proper cable management and accessible plug sockets will also create a safer workplace.
At the end of the day, employing the right employee is vital to your organisation’s performance. You can increase the probability of hiring a successful applicant by considering individuals based on their ability to perform the job, rather than being influenced by their disabilities. Together with a good retention strategy in place, organisations can help create a workplace that values and recognises the contributions of PWDs.
This article was contributed by TAFEP and was originally published here.