How well-developed is your diversity and inclusion strategy? The joy of working with people is that environments and communities are continually changing, what’s your plan for keeping up? Our mission is to support employers, managers and people to meet those challenges.
This month we’ve identified points and places in the way you work that could be a barrier for your employees or potential employees. Many of these unintentional and unexpected results of the way we work. Identifying them can be helpful in moving your organisation’s workplace forward.
Workplace barriers for people with hidden disabilities
One recent survey suggested the following problems have affected employees with hidden disabilities.
● Delays and problems obtaining reasonable adjustments - this can cause anxiety and lead to a drop in productivity. Some people will find it extremely difficult to work well without the appropriate adjustments are in place. These are required by law and can often be small and cost effective. Do you have an effective process in place for evaluation and implementation of these?
● Inflexible working time rules - hidden disabilities can manifest in a huge number of ways. And there’s no blanket solution to supporting everyone, even if people share the same condition. What’s your policy for requesting flexible working provisions and are these accessible? Do your staff know and understand what these policies are? Do you have a fair process in place for considering these requests?
● Gaps in disability training and awareness - your line managers are the frontline in delivering fair and enjoyable work and would benefit from general disability equality training. Persons with disabilities interviewed in the survey suggested that alongside a lack of knowledge and rights and opportunities, when they were offered they were often badly implemented. What training programmes do you have in place? Do you have specific policies in place that support people across your workforce?
● Workplace bullying and harassment - Persons with hidden disabilities often struggle with how and when to disclose their medical history. Some people have suffered a culture of bullying and harassment and a lack of action to prevent this. How would you manage these situations? What’s your workplace mediation and reporting procedure?
Funding to support employees with disabilities
Another concerning point raised in this survey was perceived struggles to allocate funds for reasonable adjustments. Adjustments are often small and cost-effective and there is Government funding available. The Access to Work fund can help people pay for support they may need because of a disability or long term health condition. This could be equipment in the workplace or support such as a job coach, note taker or lip speaker.
We want everyone to find the right job for them. And for all employers to understand the needs and challenges of a diverse and brilliant workforce. We’re proud to work with top firms committed to inclusion and diversity at work. Want to be seen as an employer that considers more than just productivity? Find out more about how the diversity and inclusion experts at VERCIDA can help.