‘Disability’ has traditionally been a word shrouded in perceived challenges. Throughout history, people with disabilities have been cloistered by a labor market ecosystem of limited opportunities. Misconceptions have led to marginalization, which in turn, has meant restrictive, insufficient inclusion at workplace even today. Often the discrimination is more pronounced than the disability itself.

Over the past few decades, there has been a global shift towards a more inclusive disability paradigm, echoing the belief that people with disabilities are a result of the way organizations hire and operate besides attitudinal factors.

When it comes to inclusion at the workplace, transformation starts with the self. Often, you’ll find employees with disabilities outperform their peers. They are powerhouses of skill and talent. If you’re looking for a sound inclusivity policy for your business, read these five steps for inspiration.

1. Start a Conversation

If you’ve never considered adopting a disability awareness policy, it’s likely that your employees are not sensitized to the idea of colleagues with disabilities. Start awareness programs with small groups. Usually, informal chat over lunch and tea breaks work as an icebreaker. Over time, move on to more formal trainings and programs. Shine a light on the merits of a more inclusive workforce through your talks.  

2. Collaborate with an Agency

Partner with a non-government organization (NGO) in your city that focuses on creating opportunities and providing training for people with disabilities. This way, you don’t have to start scouring the market from scratch. Once you’ve found a preferred agency, comb through quality talent to find perfect matches for your organization.

3. Leverage Technology

Technology is an effective tool when it comes to bridging disability-driven gaps. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Pick economical software to elevate disabled employees’ workplace experiences. From text-to-speech programs for visually challenged colleagues to visual output screens for those who are hearing impaired, there are enough tools to create a conducive environment and a level playing field.

4. Make Your Workplace Accessible

For physically challenged employees, an accessible environment could be the tipping point between an offer accepted or rejected. Tailor-make the basic amenities like washrooms, lobbies, cubicles and common areas to people of different heights and physical capacities.

5. Allow Virtual Accessibility

Consider introducing a frequent work-from-home option for these employees. In addition to virtualizing your organization, perhaps give your public website a facelift to make it more user-friendly for people of all profiles and disabilities. Video captions, ALT tags, and auditory inputs are some measures you could implement.

There’s a massive amount of talent waiting to be uncovered in people with disabilities. By moving your workplace to an inclusive model early on, you can ‘disable’ mindsets and enable empowerment, not just for your business, but also for the community.

Founded in 2013, OurHealthMate (OHM) is a healthcare technology organization. Our award-winning services are rooted in a three-pronged service strategy: care planning, business intelligence, and quality execution. Our corporate portfolio extends to over 250,000 employees worldwide. Our organizational fabric is upheld by a culture of unity in diversity, and our differently-abled colleagues thrive in an atmosphere of equality and emancipation.

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