We have all heard the statistics. 20% of people in Australia (yep, 1 in 5) identify as having disability, the unemployment rate for people with disability is more than double that of people without disability and this rate has remained unchanged for the past 28 years.
With the current talent shortage in the Australian market, and so many organisations committed to improving the diversity of their workforce, it’s difficult to understand why the talent pool of people with disability remains relatively untapped.
Employing people with disability goes well beyond just being the right thing to do. There is a strong business case for improving accessibility and increasing opportunity for people with disability within your workplaces. In this short video, Get Skilled Access (GSA) Consultants provide you with some key information to help start conversations within your organisations.
So, what happens once the business case is agreed to? It’s common for organisations to be unsure of how to begin their disability inclusion journey. Uncertainty, bias, misconceptions, and accessibility barriers can feel overwhelming to address, and coupled with fear of doing or saying the wrong thing can lead to inaction.
The key is to not feel like everything needs to be dealt with all at the same time, or that everything needs to be perfect before you can welcome people with disability into your workplace. Here are some helpful tips to guide your approach:
Plan for the Future
Develop a Disability Inclusion Action Plan that will provide your organisation with a roadmap towards disability inclusion. As part of the plan development process, conducting consultation across all parts of the organisation will help to build engagement and contribute to identifying meaningful and actionable goals. Aligning the plan with the organisations strategic and broader Diversity and Inclusion plans will help to engage your leadership.
Unintentional barriers in systems, processes and physical environments often result in people with disability being unable to access employment, development, and career progression opportunities. Conducting accessibility and inclusion assessments of your recruitment practices, development programs, communications, website and IT systems and physical spaces can identify areas of opportunity to improve the experience for candidates and employees with disability.
Knowledge builds confidence and enables us to create comfortable and safe situations and conversations. Improving your understanding of disability related language, common workplace adjustments and being aware of our own misconceptions and bias through training will break down barriers that exist due to fear and uncertainty.
Ask the Person
People with disability are the experts in what they need to thrive and no two people with disability experience their disability in the same way. Making assumptions about what a person with disability can and can’t do leads to missed opportunities for both your organisation and the person with disability. When in doubt, respectfully ask the person if they have any accessibility requirements or what they may need to succeed.
At Get Skilled Access, we strongly believe that open and respectful conversations go a long way to providing a sense of inclusion and belonging for people with disability. As a Disability Inclusion and Accessibility Consulting Organisation we see too often the impacts avoiding conversations have on people with disability seeking employment opportunities. More importantly, we see the profound effects of meaningful and sustainable employment for both an individual with disability, and their employer.
We work with clients of all sizes across all industries and sectors and can’t get enough of supporting organisations through customised services. To learn more or have a chat to us reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole Vongdara is an Occupational Therapist by background and practiced in Australia and the UK. Nicole worked for several years at PwC Australia with a focus on D&I, accessibility, and preventative health and wellbeing. Prior to joining Get Skilled Access, Nicole was the Asia Pacific Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Lead for global law firm DLA. As Principal Consultant at Get Skilled Access, Nicole works with private and government sector clients to design and deliver projects that enhance the community participation and inclusion of people with disability.