Disability Inclusion in the Workplace: Everything You Need to Know

What is disability inclusion?

Disability inclusion means setting your team up for success by using reasonable accommodations, inclusive workplace practices, and eliminating discrimination wherever it rears its ugly head. 

Since the pandemic’s start, businesses have faced more challenges than ever. More and more organizations are finding that investing in disability inclusion offers solid ROI. Through simple educational courses and minor changes to value disabilities, you can stand out in the eyes of your customers, employees, and the disabled community. 

This article breaks down why disability inclusion in the workplace is vital and the tangible benefits your organization will experience by implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. It all starts from the executive level, and Coach Diversity Institute’s various programs cater to individuals of all levels, including team-wide competency training designed to reinforce positive working cultures. 

Why Disability Inclusion is Important in the Workplace

To combat challenges in business, leaders are looking for solutions, but an obvious one stares them in the face. While an inclusive workplace provides tangible benefits like improved cooperation, disability inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do; federal law protects individuals with disabilities. Key pieces of legislation protect employees with disabilities, including:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act – The ADA is by far the most comprehensive form of protection for those with health conditions. This law makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities, especially during the interview process or other employment decisions.
  • The Rehabilitation Act – The Rehabilitation Act predates the ADA but essentially laid the foundation by making it illegal to discriminate against employees with disabilities in federal government institutions. It also extends protections to contractors or other employers receiving federal aid. 
  • The Fair Employment Act – This early example of incision practices makes it illegal to discriminate against anyone with a protected status, including those in the disability community. Enacted in 1941, the Fair Employment Act helped shift the narrative of discrimination, leading to more than 80 years of continued Civil Rights progress!
  • Family and Medical Leave Act – FMLA protects the families of people with disabilities by providing up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to personal or familial disabilities. Robust additions further protect pregnant women and their spouses.

It’s a fundamental human right to strive for the inclusion of people in the workplace. These laws provide a legal framework for protection against discrimination or microaggressions. However, disability employment, like all diversity, provides enrichment that far extends the punishments for non-inclusive behaviors. 

Any one of Coach Diversity Institute’s revolutionary coaching programs takes establishing inclusion practices to the next level, allowing you to bring these benefits to your organization. Businesses, educational institutions, and non-profit establishments can see a massive return on investment from these invaluable courses.  

5 Benefits of Strong Inclusion Practices for People with Disabilities

We’ve covered the legal benefits of providing an inclusive workplace, but there are other benefits you can see by offering disability inclusion. Creating equal opportunities for those with mental or physical disabilities establishes a work environment where profit margins are higher and employees are happier than in businesses without disability inclusion. Here’s how:

1. Your company can set an example for others.

Diverse employers become lighthouses in a sea of terrible work cultures. They burn bright with better performance, more communication, and popularity with their target audiences. Companies with successful inclusion initiatives set the standard for how businesses act, and their brands become synonymous with advocacy. 

Successful organizations that prioritize diversity inclusion also employ inclusive leadership that often performs well in many facets of business. These leaders are popular with employees, and they share those positive experiences with others, furthering the positive example.

2. Talented candidates will be drawn to your company.

Only 19.1% of working-age individuals with disabilities are working, according to the BLS. Opening your hiring process to better highlight disability inclusion helps with recruiting. Inclusive environments make employees feel more comfortable, and more satisfied employees lead to a more attractive work environment. 

Job seekers are becoming increasingly picky with their working conditions. Employers who don’t respect impairments are shrinking their talent pool without even realizing it. Evaluate your hiring process and see how skilled individuals will flock to your company when you establish inclusive workplace practices. 

3. The employee turnover rate will be lower.

Recruiting, hiring, and training cut away a massive chunk of profit. That’s why retention is more important than ever, and having an inclusive workplace leads to team members who feel valued. That sense of belonging breeds loyalty, and employees stand by employers who show faith in their abilities. 

A high turnover rate is a red flag that workplace culture needs improvement. Company policies that unfairly target certain types of disabilities show that the organization doesn’t support employees. A simple shift in these policies will cause your retention rates to skyrocket! 

4. The team can be more productive, which can result in higher morale.

Happy employees are oftentimes more productive employees. When you promote an inclusive workplace, team members are more likely to engage in greater levels of communication and cooperation. 

Because of improved communication, individuals are more willing to resolve issues quickly and without intervention when conflicts arise. It also helps when your teams have comprehensive cultural competency training under their belt. Coach Diversity Institute can refresh your team with several courses available for individuals and entire groups! 

5. A positive workplace culture benefits everyone.

A hostile workplace culture is harmful to everyone’s mental health. However, it’s incredibly challenging for those with disabilities. Those with disabilities feel as though employment opportunities are already harder to come by, and a poor workplace culture only makes finding a job that much more challenging. 

Disability inclusion shows that an employer is open to other DEI initiatives. And inclusive leaders value the creative problem solving, critical thinking, and decision-making diverse employees bring to the table. These initiatives really benefit everyone in the organization!  

Promote Disability Inclusion in Your Workplace with Coach Diversity

Individuals with disabilities have every right to gainful employment that individuals without disabilities have. You can eliminate unconscious bias and shift your workplace culture into one that celebrates disability inclusion through workplace accommodations, inclusive hiring practices, and employee resource groups. The work life of every employee benefits from diverse and inclusive work environments. 

Valuing disability inclusion injects more profit into your bottom line thanks to happy and productive employees. You’ll also notice that it’s easier to find qualified candidates to join your team, and those skilled employees are less likely to jump ship resulting in more long-time staff. You can set the standard for what the ideal employer looks like simply by having an inclusive workplace. 

Don’t stress about doing it alone! Coach Diversity Institute has experts to help you and your team develop robust cultural competency—one that can withstand the toxic unconscious biases that stand in the way of the rewards an inclusive environment brings. Get started today and see the improvement for yourself!