How to help disabled employees gain confidence in the workplace

disabled employees

The workplace can be a daunting place to navigate, especially for those living with a disability. Employers need to be more mindful of disabilities and adapt their workplace to be more inclusive.  

A third of the workforce, over the age of 45, have a disability or impairment. The disabilities range from dyslexia, diabetes to learning disabilities. Employers need to understand the barriers disabilities can cause, and how they can create an open discussion in the workplace. 

Here are a few ways you can foster disability confidence in your workplace. 


Adapt the workplace 

The workplace is often filled with obstacles for those with a disability. Putting some adaptations in place, such as grab rails, wheelchair ramps, and spacious lifts will instil confidence in your employees. Consider investing in a mobility car for your business so your employees can travel safely and independently.

Make your recruitment processes inclusive by evaluating whether your assessment methods are accessible to everyone. Changes in IT, working practises, and the support you offer can significantly improve your disabled employees work experience. 


Actively open up the discussion 

Incorporate disability into your workplace by talking to your disabled employees about their difficulties at work and how you can help lessen them. Making your employees feel valued and confident will foster an open discussion of disability in your workplace. 

Be proactive and educate yourself on the benefits of hiring disabled employees and how disability is communicated in the media. Invite people to share their stories and help them to feel more comfortable about the subject in your office.

Talk to your disabled employees and learn how you can make your workplace a better place for them. Remember, people living with a disability tend to know it best and what actions can make things a bit easier. 

Consider your work allocation process when chatting with your disabled employees. Could you allocate different tasks to them? If they struggle with a particular element of their role, ask them if a mentor would help or switch out the job for something more suited to their skills. Adaptability and flexibility are essential for any workforce, but especially for disabled employees. 


Invest in them

Run disability confidence training to help your workforce understand disability. Disabled employees tend to lack confidence in certain areas of their role and business as a whole. Invest in training workshops and encourage them to share their experience with their colleagues. 

Make sure to talk to your disabled staff and encourage them to participate in new, exciting opportunities. They may be more hesitant than other employees. A private chat can help them open up and share their goals for career progression in your business. 

More confident individuals can act as role models for the rest of your office. 2% of people acquire an impairment or long-term health condition every year. Role models can help people with recently acquired disabilities feel more comfortable opening up. 

Susannah Griffin

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