Did you know companies that embrace their disabled workers earn 28 percent more revenue over a four-year period?

Yet, they are the group of workers that have the most difficulties performing primary duties. This is due to a lack of adequate accommodations from their employers. If your workplace isn’t friendly to this group of workers, it’s time to act.

How can you provide an environment that is inclusive and diverse to all employees with disabilities in the workplace?

Read this guide on ways to better incorporate accommodations for disabled employees.

1. Integrate Accessibility Tools in Every Aspect of Recruitment

It’s not enough to promise inclusion if you are not showing it in the very first processes of hiring. A large number of company recruiters are not approachable or accessible to people with disabilities.

The first step will be to change your recruitment processes for everyone to have an equal chance.

You can offer application alternatives with formats in larger print and compatible reading out loud software. For physical copies, applications offered in Braille will go a long way for those that request it.

Keep the focus on the required criteria for roles versus preferred. This is a tactic for some companies to inadvertently discriminate against those who may not fit into certain groupings. But they can still do all of the required aspects if given a chance.

During the interview stage, think ahead of all the aspects and needs people with disabilities will have. Some may need ramp access, hearing loops, or in the virtual case, computer video access.

2. Enlist Employees With Disabilities in the Workplace to Help Create Your Policy

You may be tempted just to hire an expert on policy creation to create a standard inclusive policy. Before you do, consider the real-life experiences of your own employees.

There’s no better way to learn what your business can improve on in terms of accessibility than from those you provide it for every day. The employees can speak on the hurdles they have to go through in order to do their job and provide feedback on what works/ needs improvement.

Not one single employee can be an advocate for all disabilities, but in the end, it helps create a unique inclusive policy specific to your company.

3. Educate All Employees on Buiding an Inclusive Workplace

A focus on sensitivity and etiquette in the workplace should be at the center of all employee workplace training. This can eliminate stereotypes of those with disabilities and offers the best practices for creating a safe work environment.

If employees have questions about how to best work alongside those with different abilities, this is the time to answer them.

Safe work environment promotions can include:

  • Mindfulness when pushing a chair out into a pathway
  • Reserving front seats in conference areas and meeting for vision or hearing impaired employees
  • Clearing ample space for wheelchair accessibility

Enforce this on all levels of employees, including managers.

4. Provide the Best Assistive Technology

Employees with physical disabilities will require specific accommodations. If your building or office only offers one ramp, you want to upgrade that to multiple ones in various locations throughout the workspace. You can also invest in an elevator system to help them independently report to work.

You can offer color keyboards, listening, and reading devices at the workstation for the best optimal performance. Using live captioning software will help ensure those who are deaf can easily consume digital video content.

Remember that not all disabilities are physical. Employees with neuro-divergent conditions should have just as many choices of assistive technology.

Consider a revamp of the workspace with natural lighting and plain wall art for those who have sensory overload conditions. Offer noise-canceling headphones, so employees don’t need to go out and buy their own.

Consider remote work if transportation is difficult. If meeting clients involves outside settings, always put your employees first. Make sure the destination is accessible to your employees with disabilities. The extra measures prevent any inconveniences that might arise as a result of the employee’s disability. Plus, your employee will feel appreciated and valued.

5. Give Employees the Accommodations They Need

Employees should feel comfortable expressing their challenges and asking for adjustments. They should not have to beg to be accommodated so that they can do the essential functions of their role.

Some accommodations, like parking spaces and wheelchair-friendly restrooms, are easy to predict. They should be fixed accordingly. Other accommodations are not as easy to predict.

Here are some aspects of your environment to consider:

  • Does the width of your doorways and entrance corridors allow full wheelchair function?
  • Is your office service animal-friendly?
  • Are alt-reader functions available during presentations?

31% of accommodations cost an employer close to nothing, and half cost $50 or less. But still, employees often report feeling embarrassed by their employer for asking for accommodations and being made to show proof or validations.

Encourage your employees to speak up, even if it means changing all the desk heights and approving more lunchtime.

Build an Inclusive Workplace

Your employees with disabilities in the workplace are part of the reason you have a thriving, successful business.

Creating an enabling environment for them to do their job isn’t a privilege. You have a legal responsibility to do so, but don’t do their bare minimum. Go out of your way to offer workplace accommodations that truly make their job easier.

Explore our blog for more tips on improving your workplace.