Inclusivity in the workplace is not just a nice-to-do. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published a study that found the inclusivity of an organizational culture affects job performance, emotional well-being, and workforce engagement. Researchers called for anonymous narratives about inclusion and lack of inclusion from a range of employees, faculty, and students from several hospitals, health sciences schools, and outpatient facilities.
How many of the colleagues that you work with on a daily basis have a disability? Chances are it’s more than you think. That’s why inclusive design makes business sense, says this article on Real Views.com. Companies that leverage inclusive design have a broader talent pool to draw from which can translate into a business advantage. The aging baby boomer population, for example, is prone to hearing or vision impairments yet brings a wealth of experience to a company.
On Forbes.com Dr. Pragya Agarwal states that “Inclusive Design is not an afterthought. Instead, it has to be accommodated and planned beforehand, rather than being a retroactive measure. It is also essential that the design of the workplace does not segregate employees based or draw attention to them in any way.”
Disability:IN, formerly known as the US Business Leadership Network, is a leading non-profit resource for business disability inclusion. Disability:IN recently sponsored a survey in the U.S. to get a sense of workers’ attitudes toward workplace inclusion. The survey found that while workers of all ages reported that business inclusion is important, millennials, more than any other group, believe that workplace inclusion is “fundamental and essential.”
It’s no longer just anecdotal: a study has found the cost to accommodate persons with disability is quite minimal for employers. A U.S. study of more than 2,300 employers conducted between 2004 and 2017 found that most employers report little to no cost for accommodating employees with disabilities. Of the accommodations that did bear out a cost, employers reported the typical one-time expenditure was $500.
“There is still a prevailing stereotype that equates disability with difficulty and cost. In fact, our research for the last ten years shows that, in 60 percent of cases, there is no additional cost to employing someone with a disability,” says the Executive Director of the Association of Higher Education and Disability, or AHEAD.
Millennials will be the ones to create truly diverse, inclusive places of work, says this opinion piece on Forbes.com (http://www.forbes.com). By 2025 Millennials will make up nearly 75 percent of the workforce. Driven by intellectual curiosity, they will likely lead “a human revolution” and create a “just world of work.”
This opinion piece on The Daily Scanner (www.dailyscanner.com) says “there needs to be a shift in attitudes about the importance of equal opportunity, particularly for people with disabilities. Companies and institutions must make a conscious effort to rid their biases and accept those with disabilities. In many cases, the stigma around disabilities can cause a higher barrier for employment than the disability itself. Many people with a disability are capable of being a part of the workforce and making valuable contributions if given the opportunity.”
“Empowerment is at the core of the tech industry,” writes Michelle Simmons, Microsoft Asia-Pacific’s General Manager of Southeast Asia New Markets. “When we talk about empowering people, we simply mean that with the right tools, anyone can become anything. Empowerment, therefore, is key to building a diverse and inclusive workforce.” Here are her suggestions for driving diversity and inclusion.
“In order to attract the best work force it is essential that your office is set up to cater for employees of all physical abilities. Although this may sound obvious, it is surprising just how few workplaces would be able to facilitate an employee with a disability if they were to start work with immediate effect.”
“Many workplaces don’t put much thought into developing a climate where their employees feel safe and have a sense of belonging,” says career coach Marie Gervais, PhD. On her blog ShiftWorkPlace.com, Ms. Gervais gives some real world examples of successful inclusion, and explains how they got there.
The state government of Western Australia, like the Province of Ontario, is making a point of encouraging employers to hire people with disabilities. Its Count Me In strategy was launched in 2009, with an aim for “all people to live in welcoming communities that facilitate citizenship, friendship, mutual support and a fair go for everyone.”