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7 Pragmatic Ways of Tackling the Issues with Disability at the Workplace

Written By:
Syra Salam

People with disabilities are frequently overlooked as potential job applicants. That’s because many employers assume they wouldn’t be able to meet the requirements of the job or that they might need special accommodations. However, that’s not the case for everyone. Disability at the workplace is not to be looked down upon.  People with disabilities can have just as much grit and determination as anyone else. Many people with disabilities are more than willing to put in the hard work it takes to get a job and excel in it at workplace. They just need a little help cracking those interview codes and overcoming preconceived notions. 

Here are the pragmatic ways of tackling these issues when hiring people with disabilities.

Be clear about your company culture and work environment

Before you even start hiring, ensure you’re able to provide the right environment for people with disabilities.

If your office is loud, full of toxic people, or you have employees who work in high-pressure situations, it’s not going to be a good fit for anyone. Nevertheless, it’ll be especially problematic for those with disabilities who may have special needs regarding quiet or a more pressure-free environment. 

When hiring, be sure to ask questions about what the employee’s needs are. For example, if they need quiet spaces or their workstation needs modification in any way.

Hire people with varied skill sets

Yes, you want to hire people who have the necessary skills for the job. But you also want to make sure you don’t only hire people who look one certain way. For example, if your office has very specific, rigid hours and demands a lot of overtime. In addition, you only hire young people who can stand those hours. In that case you’re not going to be open to a lot of people with disabilities. 

It’s important to hire people with a wide range of skills and backgrounds, so everyone has a chance at employment, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or disabilities. This will also ensure you have a more diverse workplace and a better chance at success.

For Disability at Workplace: Offer flexible work hours and environments

If you can offer a flexible workplace, you’ll do yourself a big favour when hiring people with disabilities. Many people with disabilities want to work. However, they might need to modify their hours or have an adjusted work environment. 

You can offer employees who require these accommodations a way to work and contribute, so they don’t feel left out, and you’re able to hire a more diverse group of people. Let people know, from the get-go, that they have the option to work around their disability and find the best work situation for them.

Come up with a reasonable accommodation plan for the interview

If you’re interviewing someone who uses a wheelchair, has hearing impairments, or any other type of disability, you need to be sensitive to their needs. 

For example, if you try to interview in a busy coffee shop, that might not be a good idea, as the noise could be too much. If you’re interviewing someone with hearing impairments, bring someone with you who can communicate clearly. There are so many ways you can work around a person’s disabilities, just make sure you and your team have the right understanding and tools.

Ask open-ended behavioural questions

When conducting the interview, don’t just ask questions about previous job duties and qualifications. Don’t ask about why they can’t do this job or why they quit the other one. Rather, ask open-ended questions that get to the core of the person’s personality and how they would respond in certain situations. 

This will help you understand the person better and will show them that you’re not necessarily focused on their disability. For example, you could ask, “Tell us about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer. How did you handle the situation?” This way, you can evaluate the person’s communication style and overall ability to respond in a calm and collected manner.

Avoid comparisons and praise achievements 

The best way of dealing with disabilities at the workplace is to avoid doing comparisons at your workplace. After hiring, you have to set the criteria to keep all at the same pace regarding achievements. 

Make sure you are degrading the effort of disabled person as compared to the one efficient person. The comparison will let them go down and won’t be able to do the same. Appreciate them when they accomplish tasks even if they are smaller. 

Don’t dismiss everyone who has a disability at workplace

Yes, you need to make sure the person you’re hiring can do the job, but don’t dismiss someone solely because of their disability. This way you will develop in them the sense of inferiority of being unable to lead in the workplace. 

First, find out how they overcame the disability and what they need in order to do the job. This way, you’re not just hiring the disability, but you’re hiring the person, as well. 

Once you understand their disability and what it takes for them to do the job, you can make the decision as to whether or not they’re the best fit. Hence, this way you won’t be discrediting the person because of his physical unfitness rather if he doesn’t match your working criteria. 

Summing Up Disability at Workplace

People with disabilities are often not given heed during the hiring process, but they deserve just as much chance at employment as anyone else.

In order to make hiring people with disabilities at workplace easier for you and them, you need to be clear about your company culture and work environment, hire people who have a variety of skill sets, offer flexible work hours and environments, come up with a reasonable accommodation plan for the interview, and be sure to not dismiss all people with disabilities immediately when interviewing them. These are just a few ways you can ensure you’re hiring the best people for the job, regardless of whether or not they have a disability.

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