Last reviewed: 5 October 2022
Changing the working culture of a business can be challenging, but it is key to creating a disability inclusive workplace where your staff can flourish.
Here we outline some steps you can take to create a more inclusive culture at your organisation.
Engage with staff
Getting feedback from your employees through well-developed employee surveys is a great way to find out how your staff view the workplace culture and what areas need to be worked on.
Even the act of simply carrying out a staff survey and proactively asking your employees for their opinions and views on topics such as how supported they fell at work, shows them that you’re committed to creating a more inclusive culture and interested in hearing what they have to say.
Facilitating staff networks
Employee networks such as one for disabled employees, can help advise you on where the organisation needs to work on improving inclusion. This sort of dialogue creates a space where disabled staff can discuss the challenges and effective policies of their employers and can be key to fostering an inclusive culture.
There are few different types of networks that are developed:
- Steering groups – these are usually led by the organisation
- Disabled Employee Networks – led by employees
- Consultation Networks – groups set up specifically to obtain feedback on a new service, or a change of policy.
Many larger organisations appoint Disability Champions to help create an inclusive culture. Their role is to be the point of contact for disabled employees to discuss their requirements, and visibility promote the benefits of disability inclusion.
Small Businesses can also benefit from having a representative at their organisation who is able to normalise talking about health conditions and their own lived-in experience of having a disability.
Being your authentic self at work
An inclusive culture is one where disabled people can be their authentic selves at work.
That means they don’t have to feel that they need to hide their disability or any aspect of it. Disabled employees should feel that they can be honest with everyone they work with – team members, managers, and other colleagues – about their identity and experiences as a disabled person.
Have an effective and visible adjustments policy
Disabled employees need to have confidence that they won’t be discriminated against or treated unfairly because of their disability.
Employees also need to feel assured that they will be able to ask for adjustments, that their requests will be considered fairly, and that approved adjustments will be implemented quickly.
Remember ‘Business as usual’
Disability inclusion should be framed as ‘business as usual’. It’s important that disabled employees don’t feel that having their needs met is an exception to the norm – it should rather be abnormal for disabled employees’ needs to go unmet.
Where to go for further support
Business Disability Forum Members and Partners can contact our Advice Service.
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