Is Your Grievance Handling Process Inclusive?
Foster an inclusive workplace by implementing effective grievance handling procedures that support persons with disabilities.
Inclusive hiring is gaining traction – the employment rate for persons with disabilities (PWDs) continues to see an upward trend1 as more employers are creating job opportunities for them across diverse sectors such as logistics, healthcare, and banking2.
Crucial to the success of PWDs at work is how well employers support their wellbeing through understanding and addressing their unique needs: one effective way to achieve this is by improving the accessibility of grievance handling processes.
In this article, we share some general tips on how employers can make their grievance handling processes more inclusive.
Create a Safe and Inclusive Space
Firstly, in creating a work environment where PWDs can feel safe to express concerns and speak up about grievances they may have, organisations can bolster staff’s awareness and sensitivity around disabilities.
Training employees on disability awareness can inculcate greater understanding in communicating with PWDs. This is especially helpful if a PWD requires assistance to file a workplace grievance – their supervisor or a Human Resources (HR) staff can help address the communication needs of the aggrieved employee.
Further to this, greater awareness on disabilities can foster a more empathetic workplace culture. Employees would be better able to recognise discrimination against PWDs, and instead of being passive bystanders, help support and stand up for colleagues who may not realise they are being unfairly treated at work. Fostering such a culture can help reduce workplace discrimination and harassment in general as well.
Communication is Key
In addressing the needs of employees with disabilities, a good rule of thumb is to ask first before helping – this not only shows respect for their independence, but also help prevent instances of providing assistance that may not actually be helpful to them.
By asking first, this also helps to gain a better understanding of the difficulties that such employees might have in accessing grievance handling procedures. As there are varying types of disabilities, each employee may have their own unique challenges, and it is important for organisations to be flexible in addressing such needs to the best of their capacity.
Ultimately, a person with disabilities knows what works best for them – feel comfortable to reach out to them respectfully to understand how best to help.
A Win-win Situation
The bottom line is this: with more PWDs joining the workforce, grievance handling channels must evolve to adequately meet their needs. Beyond making grievance handling procedures more accessible, organisations also need to understand and embrace their differences, and support them in the workplace.
Enable a mindset shift in your employees by investing in training courses on disability awareness, such as those run by the Disabled People’s Association. In the meantime, review your organisation’s grievance handling channels to determine whether they are inclusive towards PWDs.
Such efforts go far in creating an empathetic and caring workplace culture in which everyone is a valued member of the team. It is a win-win situation.
 Employment Data Of Persons with Disability over the last Ten Years (2022), Retrieved from: https://www.msf.gov.sg/media-room/article/Employment-Data-Of-Persons-with-Disability-over-the-last-Ten-Years [Accessed 21 Nov, 2023]
 More job options opening up for people with disabilities (2023), Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/more-job-options-opening-up-for-people-with-disabilities [Accessed 21 Nov, 2023]