Disability Confident: More Than Just A Badge
Earlier this month we celebrated the International Day for Persons with Disabilities (3rd December), a day to raise awareness of individuals with disabilities and offer advice on how we can support them.
In this blog we delve into how imperative it is for workplaces to consider individuals with disabilities, what it means to be a disability confident employer and the steps you can take to ensure your organisation is disability confident.
Disability in the workplace
Disability is a complex concept influenced by various factors and unfortunately, while an individual’s physical or mental condition might contribute to their disability, society can create barriers or challenges that limit opportunities or access for individuals with disabilities.
What do these statistics tell us?
- Every business has disabled employees – whether they know it or not
- Any employee is susceptible to acquiring a disability and with an ageing workforce, the likelihood of individuals developing disabilities while employed is on the rise
- There’s a desire among disabled individuals to work yet hurdles in the recruitment process and workplace pose challenges in securing jobs
- The discomfort many individuals with disabilities feel in disclosing their disability hampers employers’ ability to provide support or accommodations, potentially leading to absenteeism or departure from work
These findings show the need for improved societal and workplace action regarding the recruitment, retention and support offered to disabled employees, aka, the need for more disability confidence.
What is Disability Confidence?
Disability Confidence, also known as disability inclusion or being a Disability-Confident employer, refers to an organisational commitment to creating an inclusive environment that supports individuals with disabilities in the workplace. It involves fostering a culture that embraces diversity, equality and accessibility for employees regardless of their physical or mental abilities, ensuring everyone in the workplace can thrive!
What is the Disability Confident Scheme?
The Disability Confident scheme supports employers to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to their workplace.
Disability Confident employers of all sizes are:
- Challenging attitudes towards disability
- Increasing understanding of disability
- Removing barriers to disabled people and those with long-term health conditions
- Ensuring that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.
Whether an employee has become disabled during their working life or you’re looking for new recruits, being Disability Confident can help your people fulfil their potential and contribute fully to your team’s success.
Why should organisations become Disability Confident?
There are many tangible business benefits from being a disability-confident employer, including:
Wider talent pool
It expands the talent pool by attracting skilled individuals with disabilities and employees who want to work for an inclusive and diverse business, tapping into a segment of the workforce that might otherwise be overlooked.
Creates a barrier-free working environment
Implementing accessible facilities, technologies, and inclusive policies creates an environment where employees of all abilities can perform their roles effectively and comfortably.
Improve employee morale and job satisfaction
By fostering a disability-inclusive workplace culture, businesses create an environment where employees, including those with disabilities, feel valued, supported and empowered, leading to higher job satisfaction and improved morale.
Increased employee retention
The benefits above also lead to increased employee retention. Additionally, offering reasonable accommodations and support for disabled employees demonstrates a commitment to their wellbeing, contributing to a positive work environment that encourages individuals to stay.
Different talents and transferable skills
Embracing disability inclusion allows organisations to tap into a wealth of abilities, perspectives and unique problem-solving approaches that individuals with disabilities often bring to the table.
Enhance brand reputation
A reputation for being disability confident demonstrates organisations commitment to diversity, equality and social responsibility which resonates positively with customers, stakeholders and the wider community, thus improving brand reputation and customer retention.
Offers access to the Purple Pound
Becoming disability confident unlocks access to the Purple Pound, the spending power of disabled households in the UK (estimated at £274 billion annually).
This allows businesses to tap into this substantial market, fostering economic growth through catering to the needs of this consumer segment.
How can I attract, recruit and support people with disabilities?
If you want to create a more inclusive and diverse business by welcoming more disabled employees into your workplace, here are some questions you can use to identify whether your recruitment process is inclusive and encouraging of those with disabilities.
What are the first impressions an applicant with disabilities would get of your organisation – through social media and your website?
- Do you have statements about inclusion and diversity?
- Do you show case studies of employees from diverse backgrounds or with a disability?
- Do you mark disability awareness days and weeks?
- Are you Disability Confident and if so, is your badge on display?
Are your recruitment methods inclusive?
- Do you advertise where a wide audience can access your vacancies?
- Do your job descriptions encourage people to apply by the language you use?
- Do you accept applications in different ways?
- Can you adjust your processes if needed?
- Do you offer help and support if a disabled applicant needs it?
Ongoing support and culture
How do you welcome disabled employees to the business and support them to succeed at work?
- Do you offer induction and training in different ways?
- Do your managers understand disability?
- Do you provide disability awareness training?
- Do you agree and implement workplace adjustments quickly and efficiently?
- Do you try to remove any barriers to progression people may experience?
- Do you value feedback from disabled employees?
If you answer “yes” to most, if not all, of these 15 questions, you are already making significant strides toward disability confidence and positively impacting disabled individuals. Well done!
If you want more information on becoming a Disability Confident employer download our leaflet – Disability Confident Consultancy
Additionally, our Disability and Health awareness courses will help improve your knowledge and confidence about disabilities in the workplace, click here to find out more!
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