There are lots of things you can do to become a disability inclusive employer. Easy changes to processes and policy. Or workplace disability inclusion training and colleague networks.

But you need to have a strategy on how you’re going to improve disability inclusion. And everyone in your organisation needs to be involved in making the changes.

1. Start with leadership

Senior leaders need to advocate for and drive disability inclusion. They must be accountable for progress on:

  • hiring disabled talent
  • supporting disabled staff

Organisations need to create an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy that includes disability. An effective programme needs a good governance structure and led by senior leaders. They should be clear about the ambition, the focus and their goals.

It’s also essential to encourage everyone in the business to be responsible. Change is not just up to leadership. Every person in your business has a part in transforming things.

This will help to make sure that disability in the workplace stays a priority. Disability equality should also be embedded throughout your wider business strategy and culture. It should be part of the way you do things every day.

2. Get started with a strategy

It can be tempting to try and solve everything at once. So to get started, you might want to create a short term ‘disability action plan’. This should list the first disability-specific actions you’ll take.

There will be some quick changes you can make to help build momentum. But most actions should focus on the areas that are the biggest barriers for disabled employees. There will be some common themes that you need to include in your disability plan.

Make sure you appoint a lead to make sure you monitor the progress across the plan. They can also make sure the progress and blockers are fed back to everyone.

3. Identify barriers and begin to remove them

Look at end-to-end journeys for your candidates and employees. Identify the barriers for disabled people and make a plan for removing them. These won’t just be physical barriers. They will include attitudes and digital barriers. You could do this work by:

  • auditing your workplace through the views of disabled staff
  • creating a working group to make a plan and review it on a regular basis
  • doing ongoing research with your disabled employees to understand the barriers
  • working with disabled employees on solutions together
  • upskilling staff in accessibility

Spotlight interview: including disability in EDI

4. Review policies and make changes

Review your people policies and make sure they’re clear. They must provide consistent support for disabled people. Also make sure everyone’s aware of the policies, particularly line managers.

5. Train and build confidence

Train teams and line managers who work with your candidates and employees every day. Focus on:

  • understanding the social model of disability and lived experiences
  • inclusive language and how to talk about disability with confidence
  • making adjustments to remove common access barriers

Also encourage your leadership team to get involved in a disability workshop. This will make sure your leaders understand disability. Particularly its relevance, implications and importance to your business.

Get support from Scope

If you want help with reviewing your policies or need disability training, Scope can help. Our 12-month workplace inclusion programme will review your policies and makes recommendations. It also offers 4 workshops to help with workplace culture, employment barriers, recruitment, and accessibility.

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