Appendix I: Recommended Disability-Friendly Strategies for the Workplace
Employers who hire people with disabilities diversify, enrich and enhance the culture of the workplace. Outlined below are strategies to include people with disabilities in the workplace.
- Make a corporate commitment to include people with disabilities among
your stakeholders. Is the CEO committed to a disability-friendly workplace?
Do corporate policies, procedures and practices specifically mention the word
"disability?" Do people with disabilities serve on the board? Are
workers with disabilities employed at all skill levels in the workforce, including
senior management positions? Are your products and services marketed to customers
with disabilities? Do people with disabilities purchase your goods and services?
- Educate all staff on disability issues. Does new staff orientation
include disability awareness training? Are training materials available in
alternate formats such as large print, Braille and captioned? Do employees
with disabilities serve as mentors for new hires who do not have disabilities?
Are people with disabilities integrated into your workforce?
- Provide continuing information on disability issues. Is staff familiar
with legislation pertaining to disability issues? Is disability information
provided routinely in the company newsletter or on an intranet site?
- Form a disability support group. Do employees with disabilities meet
to discuss disability employment issues? Does this group have authority to
make recommendations to management? Is all staff aware of this group and the
contributions it makes to corporate success?
- Provide accessible facilities and services. Are buildings, parking
areas, workspaces and communication systems accessible to people with disabilities?
- Accommodate applicants and workers with disabilities. Is there a
central source and budget for accommodations? Are applicants and employees
informed that accommodations are available if needed? Does staff routinely
stay abreast of new developments in universal and assistive technology?
- Project a disability-friendly image to attract candidates and customers
with disabilities. Do college recruiters target students with disabilities
when making campus calls? Do recruiters search for resumes on disability-related
Web sites? Are recruiters and other personnel responsible for establishing
working relationships with community agencies serving applicants with disabilities?
- Hire applicants with disabilities. Do recruiters regularly attend
employment fairs for candidates with disabilities or target students at colleges
with known populations of students with disabilities, such as Gallaudet University
and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (http://www.ntid.rit.edu)?
- Train and advance workers with disabilities. Do employees with disabilities
routinely participate in employer-sponsored training opportunities? If not,
has this issue been brought before a disability support group for recommendations?
Are procedures in place to promote qualified employees with disabilities to
management and supervisory positions?
- Encourage staff to volunteer in the community. Is staff encouraged
to build relationships with community service organizations for people with
disabilities? Does staff make regular visits to high schools to inform administrators,
teachers and students with disabilities about open houses or job trends in
- Brief coworkers? Have coworkers been trained to know how to welcome workers with disabilities? Do coworkers know who to contact for questions regarding working with employees with disabilities?
Content adapted from "Disability-Friendly Strategies for the Workplace," taken from the Disability-Friendly Business Awards Nomination Packet, prepared by the Virginia Business Leadership Network (www.vabln.org), an accredited chapter of the USBLN.