Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Scott Schachter, a recruiter for Rangam with a learning disability providing employment to people with disabilities. We discussed how important it is for people with disabilities to be included in workplaces.
Below are four key areas to help with ensuring people with disabilities are included in workplaces:
We must provide a space that allows for conversations with people with disabilities at the table. When we start to have open dialogues that include instead of excluding, it opens opportunities for meaningful communication, relationship building, and allowing a space for each voice to be heard.
It is important to have a company culture that allows people with disabilities to feel welcomed once they are hired for a position. The culture is a thread that is interlaced into each area of the company from their values, recruitment process, retaining employees, leadership opportunities for growth, and many other areas. Companies like Accenture , Marriott, Microsoft, and PNC have company culture that fosters disability inclusion and make it a top priority.
We must start somewhere to make the changes necessary to include people with disabilities in workplaces. COVID-19 brought about change with companies and their employees teleworking. We have taken the time to innovate new tools, adapt, solve new problems and be more patient. I think it is imperative that we use these same skills to bring about change when we talk about including people with disabilities in the workplace.
In a Slate article, former Rep. Tony Coelho, who has epilepsy and was the ADA’s primary sponsor, in an email interview stated, “My recommendation for leaders who are trying to figure out what to do and how to do it is to build relationships with disability leaders in their communities. They are your best assets.” He added that it’s also important to “address how race, class, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion impact digital access.”
Community is essential when we talk about bringing about change in any capacity. We must all work together to ensure we have a workforce with diversified talent, skillsets and perspectives. People with disabilities have talents, skillsets, innovative ideas, and leadership skills that are valuable assets to companies.
Judith Heumann said it best in her book “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist”, “We can’t be selective about which marginalized group moves forward. At the end of the day, we all need to be moving forward together, taking care of our families and the planet.”
The time is now to move forward, companies built to last include people with disabilities.
- Disability Inclusion in the Workplace Resources:
The Resource Key Takeaways:
- It is important for people with disabilities to be included in workplaces.
- The four key areas to help with ensuring people with disabilities are included: communication, company culture, change, community.
- The time is now to move forward, companies built to last include people with disabilities.