Many of us like to think our workplaces are inclusive of people with disability, but is that really the case? The stats show that the answer might not be so clear cut. In Australia, people with disability are twice as likely to be unemployed. This tells us that there are challenges that still persist.

However, there are initiatives like the Inclusive Employment Movement that are helping to lower these barriers to open employment. So, what can we all do to help make our work environments more disability friendly? Here we’ve rounded up a few ways you can help people with disability settle into a new workplace or feel more comfortable in an existing one.

Disabled female working at supported workplace

1. Present opportunities to people with disability 

The first step towards feeling included is to be presented with opportunities. Without these chances, none of us could realistically get very far. Given that we know it’s more difficult for people with disability to land a job in the first place, if there’s a chance to help with an opportunity that aligns to their skill set, why not offer it?

You might just be surprised at how they can learn certain tasks faster than their colleagues. For instance, take Dillan who after landing a job in a kitchen, picked up knife skills three to four weeks faster than his peers. Way to go, Dillan!

2. Support your team in welcoming a new hire

Starting in a new workplace can be an intimidating experience for almost anyone. However, it’s made infinitely easier when those around you are friendly, kind, and supportive. It can help a new employee feel welcomed and accepted for who they are and the skills they bring to the table. Ask colleagues to check in with the new employee and organise opportunities to help them open up and get to know their new team.

Supportive team member at disability friendly workplace

3. Ensure the employee has all the training they need 

Training is an essential part of starting any new job. Check in frequently to make sure your new hire has all the tools they need to do their work. One-on-one meetings are a great forum to ask the new employee if they are facing any roadblocks. This may be a more comfortable setting to discuss any challenges they’re facing.

4. Check the workplace is physically accessible

If you haven’t already, be sure your work environment is physically accessible to all. This means making sure there are ramp, elevator or lift options, and checking if all areas are accessible for those who might have reduced motor skills.

5. Look out for each person’s strengths and how their role can play to that 

People with disability can do exceptionally well when given tasks that align with their skills. But sometimes they might need help to identify how they can apply them a new workplace. As a manager, HR officer or business owner, look out for ways that their skills can align with your organisation’s goals.

For more information on employing people with disability, or to see how Community Solutions can help you make your workplace more diverse with a new hire, get in touch today.

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