Disability Inclusion: Much More Than Just Compliance

By neub9
3 Min Read

The importance of disability inclusion extends further than just providing wheelchair-accessible buildings. In fact, creating a welcoming workplace for individuals with disabilities—whether visible or invisible—entails giving them the support they need, according to Lisa Morganstern Bickel, Chief HR counsel at Honeywell.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was a groundbreaking achievement in the fight for equality over 30 years ago. The progress made since then, especially in accessibility and workplace accommodations, is worth celebrating. However, work towards true inclusion is far from complete, with 1.3 billion people worldwide living with a disability, the majority of whom have non-obvious disabilities such as dyslexia or autism.

Despite the progress made since the ADA, individuals with disabilities still face barriers. Inaccurate assumptions about their capabilities, underrepresentation in the workplace, reluctance to self-identify, and a higher poverty rate compared to non-disabled individuals are some of the challenges they continue to encounter.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a greater acceptance of disability in the workplace, highlighting the importance of workplace flexibility and mental health support for all employees. In light of this, corporate America has a unique opportunity to advance the conversation around disability, focusing on inclusion and belonging rather than just compliance and hiring statistics.

Companies that prioritize disability inclusion benefit from more diverse and productive workplaces. Research from Accenture reveals that employees with disabilities outperform their peers, leading to higher revenue, net income, and economic profit margins. Embracing disability inclusion offers access to a new talent pool—one that includes millions of people with disabilities.

Digital accessibility is also crucial, as it impacts the ability of individuals with disabilities to participate in the workforce, commerce, and social opportunities. Opening up the lines of communication allows employees and job candidates the opportunity to succeed and deliver strong results for their employer.

To foster a truly inclusive workplace, it’s important for companies to consider digital accessibility and necessary accommodations for employees with disabilities. These needs can vary greatly from one person to another, and engaging directly with employees can ensure full inclusion in the workplace.

Providing a wide range of accommodations, from flexible schedules to assistive technology, ensures that each employee’s unique needs are met. This approach helps employees deliver their best results and fosters a more inclusive work environment. Ultimately, disability inclusion is an opportunity for companies to tap into unique talents and perspectives, leading to greater innovation and productivity.

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