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Disability awareness training is important to every company and should be part of your employee engagement strategy. Just like Richard Branson said: Take care of your staff, and they'll take care of everything else.
By understanding the barriers that disabled people face in the workplace, you are showing your disabled employees and indeed customers, that you value them. And when people feel valued, they will work harder, stay loyal and recommend you.
It can seem like a minefield but it doesn't have to be. The reason why we have training and awareness sessions is remove the unknown and mystery of the subject. That way, every person can be treated equally and fairly.
Starting with an overview of disability should give an insight into what disability is and is not. It should offer an insight into the barriers that disabled people face and offer solutions where possible.
After this, having a clearer overview, you will be more prepared to explore specific areas. To find out more about Celebrating Disability's Disability Awareness workshop, click here.
(See also: Why does my company need disability awareness training)
Disability is not always visible. When you see somebody in a wheelchair or somebody walking with a limp, it is easy to recognise and identify them as being disabled.
However, a lot of disabled people have hidden disabilities (ie, disabilities that cannot be seen). Employees don't always disclose to their employer that they are disabled. Sometimes this can be due to not being aware themselves and sometimes it can be due to fear of repercussion.
Whatever the reason, implementing certain processes that support your employees regardless of disability, will support everyone and create an environment that will help those disabled employees you didn't know you had. It will also demonstrate that you are an approachable employer.
"We don't have any disabled customers"
"Disability awareness is such a minefield. Where do I start"
Just as in the question above, not all disability is obvious. So you can never tell.
If you work in a leisure venue (i.e, a gym, a shopping centre, a hotel, a restaurant or bar) and you aren't seeing physically disabled customers, consider your accessibility.
Are your facilities accessible? By that, think about toilets, equipment, reception area, the building both internal and external, rooms, dining options, floor space... You may also think about externals factor, i.e, frequency and availability of public transport routes.
We offer access audits to help you think about the above and more. Click here.
"We don't have any disabled people in our organisation"
Where do you advertise your roles? Some companies recruit in specific areas that they know will attract specific candidates. This is great but it may mean that you are not necessarily going to target disabled people. By advertising your roles on websites and in publications where disabled people 'hang out' you will attract a wider audience.
Is your application process accessible for disabled people? Modern technology has enabled most applications to be completed online or via a downloadable application form. Whilst these systems are time and cost effective, they can create certain barriers that range from physical barriers to difficulties connecting with the questions.
Another element to consider is your company's brand awareness. Does your company portray and demonstrate a positive attitude to equal opportunities? If you have a reputation of being inclusive, supportive and diverse, you will naturally attract candidates who will benefit from such workplace environments.
To find out more about creating an inclusive application process and to discuss your options, get in touch.
It's a common misconception that hiring disabled people will absorb a lot of resource. In actual fact, only 4% of reasonable adjustments (adjustments made to a workplace to support protected characteristics) have a financial implication. Even then, there are funding streams that can be tapped into to support an employer with the cost.
Hiring disabled people also does not necessarily have to take up a lot of time as, if reasonable adjustments are provided, then the individual is likely to be able to get on with the job at hand.
We would always recommend that you never assume anything about somebody's requirements. Always strive to have an open conversation with your employee and their manager about the support they need. More often than not, the individual will have a fair idea of what they require.
Like you would talk to or greet anyone else. If somebody has a physical disability and you are unsure of the action to take, take the lead from the individual.
A 'hello' is always a good place to start!
It's always useful to get a fresh perspective. We do.
Just like people, disability is evolving. Because it is all about people, it can be helpful to have a user/personal perspective.
If you take care of your training in-house, we don't want to take over! We want to collaborate with you to extend your offering.
Click here to see what others have said about our training.
"Why does my company need disability awareness training"
"Disability awareness is such a minefield. Where do I start"
Legislation is essential but whilst it explains what should be done, it does not often explain why you should be doing it.
Celebrating Disability workshops are designed to support you to understand the why as well as the what. Although we touch a little on legislation, it is not the main focus of our workshops because we feel that it is more important to understand the reasons behind the laws and to come up with practical solutions that will work for your business.
Click here to find out more about our workshops.
"What is the social model of disability"
The social model of disability is a philosophy that states that it is not the impairment that disables but society. In other words, it is not the fact that a physically disabled person cannot climb stairs that stops them from getting to the second floor. Instead it is the fact that the stairs exist.
To understand more, click here.