In the UK, there are about 14.1 million people with disabilities. Some people might be surprised by this percentage because some disabilities aren’t apparent or freely discussed, such as the disabilities which come under the umbrella of neurodiversity, dyslexia and autism are types of neurodiversities and are good examples of this as they are often not diagnosed until later in life.
For businesses aiming to achieve diversity and acceptance for both their customers and workers, ongoing disability awareness in the workplace is crucial.
A thriving workplace has an inclusive culture. Disability awareness is the first step in successfully developing a healthy work environment. Any underrepresented perspectives should be amplified to create a diverse workplace where staff members can feel appreciated. People with disabilities are one group that is frequently left out or underrepresented in diversity, equity, and inclusion practises.
Through this guide, we aim to explain why supporting disability inclusion and promoting disability awareness can have a hugely positive impact on your workplace for both your business and employees with disabilities.
We’ll also cover exactly how to promote disability awareness in the workplace, offering you the ideas you need to get started.
Why is it important to raise awareness for disability inclusion?
Even if you don’t have a disability, there are probably many people you know who do. However, there is still a lot of misunderstanding and ignorance about disabilities. The shortcomings of society can unfortunately go unresolved because a large portion of the non-disabled community is ignorant of the obstacles faced by disabled individuals.
Promoting disability awareness involves thinking about how we might collaborate to identify and remove social and professional barriers to build more inclusive environments for everyone who has experienced disability discrimination.
By making your workplace accessible to people with disabilities, you can ensure that your firm or industry accurately represents the diversity of the UK. Additionally, it enhances the reputation of your business by demonstrating the importance you have on diversity and equality. Companies and firms that exhibit good values are more likely to have loyal employees and clients.
Disability-friendly workplaces are more likely to make sure that candidates with impairments have had their recruiting procedure reasonably modified. These will broaden your pool of candidates and encourage more people with impairments to apply. Lack of a disability-friendly hiring procedure may prevent you from finding bright people who might be an addition to your company.
4 ways to promote a disability friendly workplace
1. Disability awareness training
Although it is advised, disability awareness training is not yet compulsory in the UK. Employers who participate in disability awareness training are more likely to have a better understanding of disabilities in the workplace, be aware of their legal obligations under the Equality Act of 2010, and know what accommodations can be offered.
Companies might think about having annual, recurring training sessions where teams can learn from professionals who are knowledgeable about disability awareness in the workplace or from a disabled person who has experience working in a certain industry.
It’s the unfamiliarity with these kinds of situations that makes it possible for harmful perceptions to endure. True respect can only develop as more people interact with those who have impairments and realise that their abilities do not define who they are as persons.
2. Neurodiversity training
Organisations can establish a neurodiverse workplace that is effective and productive for everyone by identifying ideal roles for neurodivergent staff and removing possible obstacles.
If assistance is not provided, some abilities that are typically valued by employers, such as literacy, numeracy, and concentration, may be challenging for people with certain neurological conditions. Others may be exceptional in these areas but may find it difficult to function in social situations at work or in workplace settings.
You must take into account and make provisions for how each person enters the workplace and can succeed there in order to create a genuinely inclusive culture in your company. The key to making this possible is to fully understand neurodiversity through an expert training course.
Benefits of hiring a neurodiverse workforce:
- Neurodiverse staff members contribute distinctive experiences and skill sets to the workplace, enhancing your effectiveness and broadening your perspective on your engaging audience.
- Diversity of all types fosters innovation, competition, and creativity. The more diverse your staff is, the more original solutions and viewpoints you’ll be able to offer to any particular issue. This also applies to neurodiversity.
- Many dyslexics are highly intelligent, even above average, and have superb creative thinking abilities. They frequently exhibit strong spatial and problem-solving skills. They are able to see a range of potential solutions as a result. In fact it’s estimated that 40% of millionaires are dyslexic.
- People with autism often succeed in disciplines such as rule-based thinking. The benefits of hiring people with these strengths in their workforces are being felt by many companies.
3. Workplace adjustments and assistive technology training
Effective working arrangements must be facilitated by a workplace adjustment process, with line managers being knowledgeable and comfortable with these procedures. Managers who have received training are also more able to support employees more and have health-related dialogues.
It is also extremely worthwhile having a workplace needs assessment, which can recommend any reasonable adjustments that should be made for an individual, such as specialist equipment or flexible working hours.
Any tool or piece of software that can be used to support people with disabilities in completing tasks and achieving their objectives is considered assistive technology.
This could be as simple as a voice-activated computer for someone who has difficulty using a keyboard, or it could be more sophisticated technology like an AR headset for people who have visual impairments.
In addition to giving businesses the chance to become more inclusive and hire a broader variety of workers, assistive technology can be crucial for ensuring that people with disabilities, including those related to mental health issues, can remain in the workforce.
To ensure they have the skills needed to use devices effectively and efficiently, it is usually advised that all users of assistive technology take a training course from a certified assistive technology trainer. This could include individuals with disabilities or any business that increases its disability awareness by allowing access to assistive technology to support its workforce.
4. Lead by example
It is crucial to provide a good example for people to follow when they are ill-informed. This could happen in your social circle, family, place of employment, or larger community.
It is crucial to speak up if you see anything that devalues disabled people. In public settings when others might imitate your behaviour, make sure that everyone engages with respect and sincere support.
Strive for equality and significant change rather than acting out of sympathy.
Looking For Expert Disability Awareness Training For Your Organisation?
Thriiver offers top-notch training on disability awareness to businesses and organisations of all sizes. Our training programmes are made to teach workers about various forms of disabilities and how to support co-workers who have them at work.
Because we are aware that every organisation is unique, we provide bespoke training packages that are created just for your company.
We’ve got you covered with a variety of additional training programmes and services, such as Mental Health at Work Training and Neurodiversity Training, as well as a number of assistive devices that can help employees with impairments.
If you’re interested in finding out more about our services, enquire today!
How To Promote Disability Awareness in the Workplace FAQs
Why is it important to promote disability awareness?
The establishment of inclusion for those with disabilities depends in large part on disability awareness. The lack of understanding, uncertainty, and prejudices that might affect your views are frequently the root of our anxieties and discomfort when engaging with persons with disabilities.
What is disability awareness support in the workplace?
Employers and their staff can benefit from disability awareness training by receiving practical guidance on how to help and encourage disabled workers so they can succeed in the workplace.
How do you integrate people with disabilities in the workplace?
Be open to discussing the needs of those with disabilities and learning what, if any, modifications are needed to assist them succeed at work. By addressing any difficulties and problems early on, communication with all of your employees will help to break down barriers.