With a diverse workforce, organizations gain new perspectives, experiences, and ideas. Competitive organizations are those that strengthen diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) efforts. Throughout the month of June, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is calling public attention to the reasons why company DEIA plans and efforts need to encompass people with people with disabilities. EARN recognizes that people with disabilities are the “largest minority group in the world,” and that businesses inclusive of those individuals “benefit from a wider pool of talent, skills, and creative business solutions.” Additionally, “people with disabilities represent the third largest market segment in the United States” and inclusion practices geared toward these populations also benefit everyone. So, by hiring and involving individuals with disabilities, employers can gain increased understanding of how to meet the needs of “this important and expanding customer base.” To provide guidance for employers across all industries who are new to understanding the role of disability in advancing workplace DEIA initiatives, EARN offers specific action steps that can be taken, covering:
– An inclusive business culture: involving an organization-wide commitment to DEIA and plans and implementation;
– Disability-inclusive outreach and recruitment: developing relationships with a wide range of sources for recruitment of qualified candidates with disabilities;
– Disability-inclusive talent acquisition and retention policies: facilitating hiring and advancement of those with disabilities.
– Accommodations: providing resources employees with disabilities need in their jobs, such as assistive technology, flexible schedules, or other offerings;
– Effective communication of policies and practices internally and externally: demonstrating commitment to disability inclusion;
– Accessible information and communication technology: ensuring that the workplace is physically and digitally accessible for all; and
– Accountability and Self-Identification: adopting written policies, practices, and procedures and tracking effectiveness and identify possible improvements. For more details, read the EARN webpage on Disability Inclusion in the Workplace: Why It Matters.