WECIL offers advice for businesses on a range of issues to help make the best possible working environment for disabled employees.
Here's an article that we wrote for the Bristol Post, giving businesses our top five tips to improve inclusion in the workplace.
The 2011 census showed that nearly one in five people are disabled. That’s almost 20% of the potential national workforce, yet the unemployment rate for disabled people is disproportionately high.
Research published by Scope last month show that of those in employment, over half (58%) of disabled people feel at risk of losing their jobs and one in two (53%) have experienced bullying or harassment at work because of their impairment(s).
There are small changes we can all make to ensure that disabled people are better supported at work and businesses benefit from a more diverse workforce. Here are our top five areas to be aware of:
1) Funding is available for practical support
The Access to Work scheme gives grants to employees or potential employees who are disabled – this includes people with physical impairments, mental health issues and long term health conditions.
The grant can pay for practical support (such as equipment, travel or a support worker) to enable a disabled person to start working, stay in work or move into self-employment or start a business.
If the employee applies for this within the first six weeks of employment the cost will be fully covered by the scheme.
2) Check recruitment processes are accessible
Recruitment processes may need reviewing to ensure that disabled people are able to equally access and apply for available job vacancies. Think about the description of the job role and if any of the required specific characteristics could be discouraging or exclusionary. Ask candidates if they have any access requirements; e.g. using a room on the ground floor for interview or checking that the application form can be read on a screen reader. These are often simple to arrange.
3) Promote all-round well-being
Managers should be aware of staff well-being and know the signs to look for if anything comes up. Staff should feel secure enough to disclose any ‘invisible’ impairments such as mental health issues. Then policies and action plans can be put in place to ensure they are well supported and both manager and employee know the steps to take if any issues arise. Tools for this include a stress risk assessment, and a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).
4) Sign up as ‘Disability Confident’
The government’s Disability Confident scheme aims to help employers make the most of the opportunities provided by employing disabled people. It’s voluntary, and free to sign up and use the guidance.
5) Good resources and support are crucial
Managers must be well-equipped with the resources and knowledge to know what to do when someone discloses an impairment, and aware of good working practice and related legislation.
WECIL offers a consultancy and training for employers, providing a range of services including:
• A specialist support service for disabled employees
• Physical access audits
• Equality & Diversity training
• Mental health awareness training
As an organisation run by disabled people, we understand the issues facing disabled employees and their employers. Our bespoke advice and training packages can help employers to not only meet their obligations as an employer but go further to increase performance, improve workplace cohesion and create a more inclusive environment for staff as well as customers.
For more information on our services for businesses go to our Corporate pages
Call: 07973 686389