When you hire an employee with disability, you need to know how to be inclusive to accommodate persons with disability as well as other colleagues without disability. Here are few tips that help you become an inclusive organization.
- Respect the person for what they can bring to the table. Do not dismiss the person because of their disability. The employee with disability has the required education and skills required by your company, hence it is obvious that the person has potential which has to be tapped. Understand how the person will work and enable them.
- Resist the temptation to over protect or ‘talk on behalf of’ persons with disability.
- Assign responsibility and hold them accountable for their performance.
- Ensure inclusive practices, environment and policies
Good inclusion ensures a high performance employee:
Ganguliah is a person with total vision impairment. He has good communication skills, good attitude towards work and is an employable candidate. The computer training he had undergone with us helped him get the telecaller position in an automotive company. We also figured out the solutions he would be using to carry out the job. Initially, he was asked to observe how others are working and equip himself to work. But even after few weeks, Ganguliah was not assigned any work at all. Some of the managers in the company weren’t sure of how Ganguliah would work and so all his work was assigned to others who had to do this on top of of their regular work! Later, even when he was assigned work, there was no enablement to ensure that he can perform his job effectivelyToday, Ganguliah works at another company: Pratham Motors and is considered an excellent worker. Why? The The head of the company and managers had an inclusive attitude and ensured that the team mates were sensitized, the workplace solution was provided to Ganguliah, issues were raised, training was inclusive and feedback was given to ensure performance.
An inclusive attitude can surely make a difference!
- Ensure that training has been done inclusively for the person with disability. i.e for a person with hearing impairment, alternate communication via sign language interpreters and ensuring that the training has been understood by the employee with disability. For a person with vision impairment, access to relevant visual material or elements by providing verbal explanations of the same. For a person with cerebral palsy who has a speech impairment, inclusion could be giving the time and space for the employee with disability to speak at his pace and taking conscious efforts to understand what is said by paraphrasing or asking the person to repeat.
- Conduct disability awareness workshops in the company that makes all your employees inclusive.
- Provide flexibility like work-from-home options or flexible work timings to accomodate persons with disability
Inclusion in Lasersoft: Lasersoft provided free accommodation very close to the company for needy PWDs, so that they can avoid commuting in the city. They also provide bus transport facilities for PWDs to come to office and go back. They have permitted one severely disabled PWD to work from home.
Inclusion in Core Logic: As part of learning and development activities, Core Logic conducts soft skills training for its employees. The trainer realized that teaching hearing impaired is different from teaching others mostly because of their limited English knowledge skills. Initially the trainer went looking for sign language books to make the instructions easy. Later on they came up with an idea of using pictures to explain things.
- Plan for a reasonable accomodation budget as part of the overall budget to meet the requirements of persons with disability.
- Have alternative formats (eformats or brailled formats) of communicative materials for the visually impaired to read.
- Ensure an accessible premise for persons with disability. This can ensure true inclusion
- Include persons with disabilities in all the meetings by
- conducting meetings in an accessible place
- having interpreters for hearing impaired employees
- explaining those that are "shown" during meetings verbally to visually impaired employees
- Plan outings and other activities keeping persons with disabilities in mind. For example: Is the place accessible for persons with physical disability? Are there barriers in the fun events planned for persons with disability to take part effectively?
Inclusion in Cafe Coffee Day:
Mumbai Cafe Coffee Day, Praveen and two other hearing impaired brewmasters have the ownership of training the new joinees including those who are non-disabled. You can imagine the impact! Most of the new employees are in the age group of 18 to 25 years and they are volatile with lot of aspirations. When these youths are being taught by a hearing impaired person, the psychological impact is a lot. The inclusion is amazing!
In Bangalore, the employees would often go together and play cricket. When the hearing impaired person wanted to join them, they were slightly skeptical or worried. They took him eventually and he is one of the top cricketers for Cafe Coffee Day now!
Inclusion in 24/7: Roshan Rajan is visually impaired and works as voice and accent trainer. He says, "Once, when we were playing a game where people had to break the balloons blind folded and when my turn came they blind folded me! They looked at me as one among them."
- Have ramps and lifts that make office buildings accessible.
- Have accessible restrooms for persons with disability.
- Have the office set up uncluttered and organized so that employees who are visually impaired find it easy to walk around and find things easily.