Inclusion in the Workplace: Ways to Welcome Those with Special Needs

Inclusion in the workplace is always a topic of debate.

People with disabilities experience more difficulties than others when performing certain tasks. That said, they have many skills to contribute to organizations. Many employers, however, are still reluctant to practice inclusion in the workplace.

Inclusion in the workplace

                    CC-BY Quite West Chamber of Commerce

Accommodating someone with unique needs in the workplace is a challenge, but doable. There are steps that employers can take to make this a reality.

Why is inclusion in the workplace essential?

Granted, hiring someone who faces physical or mental challenges is itself a challenge. But there are practical reasons for doing so.

First of all, they make loyal employees. According to studies, they take fewer leaves of absence and are more likely than their non-disabled counterparts to keep their jobs. The Chicago Lighthouse researched employees in its Illinois Tollway call center. The center hires people who are visually impaired. Employees with vision difficulties worked for 1.7 years on average, while those without kept their jobs for about 0.9 years.

Also, they are less likely than those without challenges to get into accidents. Studies by the Department of Labor Statistics and the DuPont company in the United States show that workers with unique needs were more aware of safety than their colleagues.

Furthermore, there is governmental support for employers who hire the disabled. The Open Door Programme (ODP), an initiative of the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) aims to prompt employers to involve the disabled in their organizations. It provides job training grants, recruitment services, and subsidies.

Moreover, disabled employees add to workplace diversity. By integrating people with unique needs, employers will teach their employees how to make the workplace environment accessible to everyone. Inclusion in the workplace also spurs creativity.

Finally, it makes everyone realize that people with disabilities are capable. Employers may worry that they cannot handle particular tasks. The chances are that they have already found a solution to this problem.

Ways to practice inclusion in the workplace

One of the biggest problems that society faces is the lack of inclusion in the workplace, but there’s good news. There are steps employers can take to accommodate people with disabilities, and they’re not drastic. They are also inexpensive.

1. Technology

First and foremost, companies can embrace technology. Speech-to-text software, easily available online, will help a person who’s visually impaired. Captioning screens can help an employee who’s hard of hearing.

2. Non-profit job agencies

Many non-profit recruitment agencies assist the disabled in searching for jobs.. pairs those with unique needs with employers who need their services. Companies can partner with these organizations to ease their hunts for disabled employees.

3. Raise the awareness of disabilities

Also, a company becomes inclusive when its employees understand how to work with people who have disabilities. Regular training will promote awareness.

4. Create an accessible environment

Organizations can make restrooms, hallways and storage spaces easy for disabled employees to use. Creating storage spaces and desks of the right heights will ease their workflow.

5. Online accessibility

Finally, work doesn’t have to take place at the office. It’s possible to do some tasks, such as web programming, graphic design, and administration remotely. It’s easy to communicate with employees via video conferencing programs such as Skype and Google Hangouts.

In all, inclusion in the workplace isn’t a hassle. All it takes is some awareness and a few adjustments.