What more can business do to make employing disabled people easy?

I believe businesses should be congratulated on how over the last 20 years they have, as a whole, improved the accessibility of services for disabled people. But an area where businesses still need to develop policies and practices is employing disabled people with a vast range of impairments and access requirements.

The first thing to say is like people in general, not every disabled person can do every job because of the impairments they have, and this is absolutely fine. A blind person is unlikely to be interested in jobs where seeing is an essential requirement and so it is about finding the right job for each individual, which is not something businesses specifically need to worry about.

The first way to make a job accessible is to review the job and person spec to really understand if everything stated is really needed

The first way to make a job accessible is to review the job and person spec to really understand if everything stated is really needed. For example, job specs often say they require people to be able to drive, to get to meetings, when using public transport will provide the same result. Do people need to always work in the office or can they work from home?

While wheelchair accessibility is good practice, I would hold off purchasing expensive accessible equipment until you employ a disabled person, where the key is then to listen to what they need and work with them to provide what they require for them to be able to deliver what you need. It is important to measure people’s performance on their outputs and outcomes, as oppose to how they do things.

One issue that often feels difficult to manage is employing people who experience chronic fatigue or have fluctuating levels of health. I believe the first solution is to always agree outcomes and deadlines with people, so they are able to say what they believe possible, as oppose to imposing outcomes onto them, and then make people accountable to what they have agreed.

It’s good to not see sickness as an all or nothing concept

It is also good to not see sickness as an all or nothing concept, where you can either work or need to be in bed at home doing nothing. Some people may want to work from home when they are not 100%. It is also important to keep people who are sick in the loop and feeling a part of the team as much as they are able to, especially when it is for long periods.

These are just some suggestions in an area that requires developing much further to ensure more disabled people have the opportunity to work.


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