Discrimination in the workplaceFlexibility and creativity in the workplaceInclusionUnconscious Bias

Building a business case for disability inclusion

By June 8, 2022 October 10th, 2022 No Comments

Building a business case for disability inclusion

Stephanie Agnew and Dr Lisa Chaffey are highly educated, insightful and entertaining presenters who, like 1 in 5 Australians, also happen to have a disability. As Stephanie pointed out, people with disabilities can do all things, they just do it differently. The statistics around employment for people with disabilities are revealing.

Compared to their ‘able bodied’ counterparts, disabled people are five times more likely to give excellent customer service, have superior safety records, are four times more likely to stay in their role and nine times more likely to innovate. After all, problem solving is a part of every day for every person with a disability.  

In spite of the enormous benefits that come with hiring a person with a disability, the employment rate for people with disabilities is around half of that of people without disabilities. Our biases, unconscious or otherwise, are largely to blame. We need to embrace disability inclusion, because it’s not just good for business, it’s good for everyone. 

And it’s important to understand that disability inclusion isn’t just for people with disabilities. It’s about being fair; it’s about creating the right environment for everyone to be successful and productive at work. If you discriminate against people with disabilities, you’re also indirectly discriminating against employees who don’t have a disability, because they’re contributing to a determinate workplace.

We just need to change the way we think about people with disabilities, and that doesn’t just mean adapting our workplaces, because the vast majority of disabilities do not require expensive modifications to be accommodated. 

For example:

  • Previously expensive screen readers are now built into every Microsoft and Apple product
  • Providing interview questions ahead of time can be beneficial to a wide range of people including those with anxiety or autism, allowing them to perform at their best in the interview
  • Providing the slide deck for a presentation ahead of time for a person with a vision impairment ensures the presentation is accessible for all participants

Most of the time, we simply need to open our thinking to beyond just what we have always done before when building a business case for disability inclusion – especially a global business – hasn’t the last two years of adapting to life with Covid has surely taught us that. After all, jobs that were previously unthinkable as being able to be performed from home all of a sudden are now successfully done from home.

So, as people leaders how do we set every employee up for success?  Stephanie and Lisa give practical advice – just ask!  From the very start of the recruitment journey and on the way through, ask if there are any adjustments they would like so they can be supported by the company to perform at their best, whether this is in the interview, induction or beyond.

Written by Lisa Stockwell.

If you would like confidential advice with improving the diversity and inclusion in your hiring practices, then get in touch. Email us at info@developingtalent.com.au.

Our workshops include Equally Yours Diversity and Inclusion Training, which offers a unique experience that not only builds confidence and knowledge across D&I, but is also a great workshop experience for team building and leadership development. Register for a free demo.

View our events page which includes details of our forthcoming programs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane including Developing Inclusive Leaders Workshops.

If you are looking to improve diversity and inclusion in your organisation visit our blog for some useful information and resources.

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