Researchers at the University of Melbourne (UM) in Australia are collecting workplace inclusion success stories, to learn what works, so organizations can adopt proven practices.
“It’s well established that creating an inclusive and diverse workplace can lead to higher group performance,” says the lead researcher. “Increasing labour force participation of people with disabilities means they have a better standard of living, as well as better physical and mental health.”
One of the biggest challenges the researchers have found is the prevalence of reports and articles highlighting what workplaces are doing badly. “By emphasising what employers are doing right, we hope to encourage other organizations to follow suit.”
Early findings reveal a significant lack of knowledge and misconceptions about how adjustments can be made. Perceived cost can be a barrier to workplaces making adjustments. Employers are often unaware of funding available to help them provide an accessible workplace. At the same time, many people with disabilities are unaware of the adjustments available.
Another issue is disclosure, the researchers report. “One of the biggest barriers facing people with disabilities – that dilemma of if, and when, you tell your employer about your disability. There is a lot of evidence that having a formal disclosure process can encourage people with disabilities to come forward; however it’s also important there is no obligation to disclose.”
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