When talking about inclusive hiring some may think of people in wheelchairs or with physical barriers. While those with physical barriers are part of the inclusive community, it is only a small portion of what it means to be someone with an inclusive or diverse ability. An inclusive employer may employ individuals with physical limitations but may also employ those who require some special accommodations such as speech-to-text technology, specialized keyboards for those who are hard of sight, or shortened work hours or pictograms.
Practicing inclusivity includes recognizing an individual’s strengths and applying them to duties within the workplace so that the individual will thrive, and the business will satisfy a hiring need within the company. Just because an individual has a diverse ability does not imply that they are uneducated or inexperienced in the workforce. Often, life circumstances change and people find themselves having to adapt to a physical or cognitive limitation which may not have always been there.
One in Five Canadians has a disability (22% of the population), and over 6 million Canadians over the age of 15 have a disability.
Disability is diverse and many types of disabilities are invisible. To make your workplace more educated about this topic it may be helpful to do some of the following steps:
- Take some disability awareness training as a team.
- Create an inclusive workplace policy or guidelines to help establish your business’s commitment to inclusion and accessibility.
- Identify barriers and find ways to remove them. An inclusive workplace nurtures employees to have the tools and support they need to succeed.
- Review your sick day policies- are they flexible?
- Are there job duties that can be done from home or remotely?
- Are your job duties or descriptions flexible?
- What kind of workplace culture do you foster? Does it include staff training around inclusiveness?
Diversity and inclusion can also mean employing people from other cultures, and countries, of different religious views and different sexual orientations.
When people feel included at work, they feel safe, welcome and more engaged. Inclusion is a performance enhancer for businesses!
Diversity is Multidimensional:
- Visible Diversity: May involve culture, ethnicity/culture, nationality, gender, age and mental/physical status
- Invisible Diversity: May involve thoughts, perspectives, and life experiences, including education, values/beliefs and socioeconomic status
- Other Diversity: May or may not be visible and may include sexual orientation, religion and language.
Ask yourself: “If I had a disability, how would this work for me? What would need to be changed so I could fully participate equally with others?”