HR BLOG: Shaping support for disabled employees

Too often people shy away from disability, but it’s important to understand that many disabled people feel proud of their uniqueness and that disability should be celebrated rather than avoided.

This is evident from the rapid growth of Disability Pride: a month-long celebration during July for the diverse disabled community to come together, celebrate and raise awareness.

If you feel you have missed the opportunity to show your support during Disability Pride month, don’t worry! There are still plenty of ways in which you can make a positive difference, starting with your business.

How you can support disabled employees

Many disabled people can and want to work but encounter barriers to employment. Becoming a Disability Confident employer helps to remove those barriers and improve disability inclusion. It shows that you are committed to looking after all staff and encourages disabled people to apply for vacancies with you. This makes your recruitment process more inclusive and accessible, whilst also widening the potential pool of talent.

Providing inclusive opportunities is the first step. The next one is to make sure that you are able to support these employees.

Reasonable adjustments and flexible approaches to work can help, but inclusivity also needs to be at the heart of day-to-day company culture to have a lasting effect.

Training events and work socials should be made accessible to all employees; whilst equal treatment and mutual respect can reduce the risk of conflict and discrimination.

Remember, not all disabilities or chronic illnesses are obvious. In fact, some which haven’t been disclosed can be misunderstood and seen as poor performance. A welcoming, inclusive company culture that embraces individual differences can encourage disabled employees to be themselves at work and seek the support they need to do their job well. In this way you will be rewarded with their loyalty too.

Studies show that disabled employees are just as, if not more, motivated than those without a disability.

Helping disabled people to start, stay and succeed in work

Employment plays a crucial role in disability inclusion. It helps disabled people to live more independently by providing financial security.

The government has committed to reducing the current disability employment gap with a target of seeing one million more disabled people in work by 2027.

Further information is expected to be released soon, in response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation. This includes how the government will provide better and earlier support for employers and employees to prevent job loss through ill-health.

As part of the government’s wider National Disability Strategy, current schemes such as Access to Work and Disability Confident, which help employers provide and maintain opportunities for disabled people, are set to be improved.

How disability inclusion benefits your business

Disability can happen to anyone, at any time in their life. By becoming a Disability Confident employer, you are not only doing your part to further disability inclusion and raise awareness but also future proofing your business by making a commitment to your current employees.

If you’d like to know more about how you can become a disability inclusive employer, contact us today.