How All Businesses Can Support Their Disabled Employees
It is now an undisputed fact that Diversity in the workplace can have numerous benefits to you as an employer. Put simply, the greater the mix of people in your business, the greater the mix of skills, experiences, perspectives and ideas you can draw on. But the benefits of diversity and equality cannot be fully achieved without creating an inclusive environment.
The disability employment gap is still too wide even when we factor in the progress so far and many employers are concerned that disabled people are ‘more expensive’ to employ. At Iansyst we aim to change that mind-set and make sure everyone in the workplace is included.
Workplace adjustments are changes to the work environment which allows individuals with disabilities to work safely and productively.
Some adjustments such as altering working patterns, flexible working hours, making minor modifications like ramps and hand rails, requires little cost.
In instances where the individual need changes, such as: technology and training, one-to-one coaching, or more inclusive design like lifts and wider doors, the Access to Work scheme can help cover these adjustments.
Accesst to Work
The Access to Work programme offers so many advantages for both employers and employees, ensuring individuals get the right support in their workplace.
As of April 2018, the scheme received a 38% increase in funding, allowing disabled people to claim a maximum of £57,000 per year to support access to employment. This funding may be used in a variety of ways, for example: to purchase specialised equipment, hire support workers and cover transport costs.
The Bigger Picture
Proactively seeking to recruit and promote those with a disability is proven to positively impact businesses. Disabled employees offer attributive skills, talents, qualities and a unique perspective. Furthermore, inclusivity and diversity within the workforce represents the wider community, with almost 7 million disabled people of working age in the UK.
Evidence from the think tank Reform shows that disabled employees are as productive as their non-disabled colleagues (Reform, 2016, The potential of Disability Confident). With a 5% increase in the employment rate of disabled people, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would grow by an extra £23 billion by 2030 and the government would receive an additional £6 billion in tax revenue by 2030 (ibid).
The recruitment of disabled people offers opportunities for both employer and employee – it is mutually beneficial. With provisions like Access to Work, businesses now need to look at creating a working environment that encourages employees to speak about (or disclose) their disability from the moment they are hired, so employers can help make these vital adjustments. In time, this will create more inclusive environments where businesses will see a more communicative and productive workforce.