Tips for employers

Whether a workplace is a genuinely accessible and inclusive environment comes down to each employer. For those companies looking to do more, or wanting to check if they are on the right track, here are some tips:

 

Visibility – talk  about disability within your vision statements and policies as this will outline your commitment to this area. Including disabled people in marketing materials such as posters, blogs, stories or videos, can have the effect of making employees feel more valued at work. It could also help to attract disabled candidates to your company

Sign up to a scheme – joining the Disability Confident scheme or another similar initiative will give you access to self-assessment tools and best practice tips. It will mean you can display the logo of that scheme on your website, which is a further way of showing your welcoming and proactive outlook to those applying

Fair applications – making sure application forms are available in alternative formats such as Easy read will mean more people will be able to apply. Using the Accessibility Checker when writing job adverts is another good tip; candidates will be able to do things like make the text larger. It is also important to avoid clichés and jargon in job adverts and explain what you expect the candidate to focus on in their supporting statement or covering letter. You could also choose to:

– guarantee to interview those who declare a disability and meet the minimum criteria
– make it clear that disabled applicants are welcome to get in touch should they need adjustments during the application process
– advertise your vacancies on job sites that are aimed at disabled applicants

List adjustments on the intranet – it’s good practice to have a list of adjustments that are available for staff. Many people acquire a disability during their working life. Adjustments need to work for the individual and ought to be revisited to check they are still working for that person. Most adjustments are free to make with many already in place at several companies. A list of adjustments helps to give people a starting point and makes it easier for someone to begin the conversation with a manager about the set of circumstances that they are facing

Disability networks – having a named disability champion or a creating a disability network are ways of supporting staff with disabilities. Not only do networks help those who are part of it, they are also good for the business. Champions and networks provide invaluable insights into how the company can become more accessible and inclusive from those with a connection and familiarity with the business (your employees!)

Confidentiality – people worry about their disability or adjustments being talked about around the office. Disability can be very personal. Clearly, it is important that the line manager and HR are in the loop but the individual should be asked if they wish their colleagues to know the details. If they do, they should be asked about how that information is shared

Training – Offer training on disability to all employees. Provide your staff with Mental Health First Aid training or invite a disability charity to come in to talk to your employees. This will help to put disability on the radar

 

 

Edmund Lewis, AGCAS Disability Task Group, University of Westminster

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