What should businesses do to create an inclusive environment?

All businesses rely on the skills and talents of their workforce in order to succeed. Disabled people are a huge, untapped resource within the labour market. Many employers already recognise this – but many more could benefit by doing so.

The benefit to business

Creating an inclusive work environment enables a company to make the most of its current and future workforce.

Publicly and actively making the workplace a better place to work for disabled staff allows your employees to do their jobs to the best of their ability, boosts productivity, and also demonstrates a commitment to the wellbeing of their employees.

Issues such as improving retention rates, using the unique talents of disabled people and making sure that the workplace reflects the customer base (disabled people make up 18% of the population) are also key.

Making a few small, simple changes can make a big difference.

Make the most out of your staff

Get informed- Know what good practice looks like and be aware of government schemes that are there to help, like Access to Work. Small employers in particular often don’t address it if they don’t have anyone in the team with a disability. However, someone may have a ‘hidden’ disability that they feel unable to talk about, or an employee may become disabled in the future. More information on best practice can be found on the Government’s website.

Start early- Improving job retention amongst disabled staff starts at the beginning of the job application process, for example, in the job advertisement welcoming applications from disabled people.

Be flexible- Flexible working is one of the most commonly requested forms of reasonable adjustment made by disabled people, and can be relatively easy and inexpensive.

Get talking — Disabled people are the experts in their own condition and what they need in order to perform at their best. If you’re not sure about something, ask!

Be confident- Creating accessible work environments, being flexible and making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees cannot be seen as a ‘nice to have’- it’s essential.

We recognise that making those first steps to becoming confident takes work– no one wants to be awkward with their colleagues and employees. Watch Scope’s quick and fun guide to help you ‘End the Awkward’ at work.

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