A supportive work environment

Before you start a focused effort to hire people with disabilities, it's helpful to make sure that your work environment and employee culture are welcoming and supportive.

There are many levels of how to create this environment. How you do it will depend on the size of your company and the scope of your plan.

The first step is to assess how disability-friendly your company is.

The main categories to look at are:

  1. Employee culture: Does your staff understand disabilities? Do they know how to interact with PWD and be supportive?

  2. Physical environment: Is your building accessible to people with mobility problems? Can you adjust things like lighting, desk placement, or location of files and other items?

  3. Policies for hiring and training: Are you open to adjusting your interview process to allow for people with certain challenges? Would you allow a job coach to help someone to get extra support while learning the job?

  4. Flexibility and support: Do you allow flexible work hours for people who have limitations due to medical needs, excessive fatigue or scheduled support groups? Do you provide accommodations like special keyboards or voice-to-text software for employees who need them? Are you open to adjusting job descriptions to allow someone to do more of the tasks they can do and pass other tasks to another employee?

Tips on creating a supportive work environment:

  • Attitude, culture and accommodations: first assess and see what needs improvement

  • Training programs and ongoing checks to improve and maintain culture of inclusion and support