Integrating Persons with Disabilities in the Workplace

Being inclusive in your workplace goes beyond hiring people with disabilities—it includes their total integration so they can show their 100% potential and strengths. No matter if visible or invisible their disability, integration in the workplace allows everyone the same opportunities to succeed, improve, earn money and advance in their career. So how can you help your coworkers with disabilities with integration?

Identify and adjust hiring processes

It is possible that your recruiting and hiring processes are not so suitable for people with disabilities. Are they discouraging people with disabilities from applying or are they limiting them from showing their full potential? For instance, in Microsoft, they noticed that people with autism rarely applied for job positions and even more rarely got hired, despite having the skills and qualifications needed. They discovered that the issue was the interview process many autistic people didn’t like or excel at. To allow proper integration, managers removed the interview and replaced it with exercises that test skills and teamwork. This allows the Microsoft team to give the same opportunities to all candidates, regardless of their weaknesses and strengths. Apply this example to your hiring, training and development processes and they will make a big difference.

Strengthen the bond with the community

Identifying the candidates can be just as hard for companies as hiring people with disabilities. Why is that so? Well, mostly due to connection issues. In many cases, people with disabilities might not be willing to apply for jobs because they think they won’t get them, so their talents ever even get to you. To fix this issue, it’s important to engage with organizations and groups that support people with disabilities and create a good bond in the community.

Offer incentives and financial help

In many cases, people with disabilities can’t apply for a job or hold employment due to various financial issues. Often going to work and dedicating time to tasks takes too much time, preventing people with disabilities from attending work. One thing companies can do for their workers with disabilities is offer financial help or provide workers with special cars. This allows people with disabilities to join a local independent living facility and move closer to work. These facilities are affordable with government and employer incentives and very practical for all people with disabilities. It’s also possible to provide disabled workers with special vehicles so they can do their commute much easier.

Investing in workplace modifications

To provide all workers with equal accessibility, it’s important to perform certain modifications to the workplace. Things like including adjustable desks and chairs in the workplace, creating accessible pathways and amenities, as well as providing workers with flexible hours are crucial for integration. There are government incentives for these workplace modifications, so there are no reasons why not to do them.

Include people with disabilities in social events

The idea behind integration is to look beyond regulations and compliance—it’s crucial to take a holistic approach and create a workplace that’s truly welcoming. Including people with disabilities in every part of company life is crucial for integration. Proper inclusion results in better morale, better productivity, stronger loyalty and lower turnover.

Help employees understand the challenges

In order to create an environment that allows all employees to show off their best sides, it’s necessary to educate employees on each other’s needs. All employees, no matter if they are able-bodied or live with a disability, should go through training that will help them understand and empathize with others. This reduces the stigma behind disability and creates better bonds between colleagues. Through training, people will learn about tools and accommodations people have at their disposal and encourage everyone to go searching for better solutions for integration.

A company that’s full of diverse people has all the strengths to tackle issues and get sympathy from consumers. Hiring and welcoming people with disabilities into your company should be your number one task that will bring a world of good returns.

By Peter Minkoff

Peter is a lifestyle and travel writer at Men-Ual magazine, living between Ústí nad Labem and Antwerp. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

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