It is certainly valuable to look for the strength in others and appreciate the contribution they bring to the team. It is important to note that people with disabilities are not often afforded this courtesy. They are more likely face discrimination and experience a not so smooth transition into the world of work. According to a report produced by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the employment rate for persons with disabilities in Kenya is about 1% compared to 73.8% for the general population. Is this not the equivalent to disregarding the potential profit of an organisation?
As more organisations continue to recruit employees, it is essential that they learn how to support and promote inclusion of people with disabilities in Kenya. By accelerating the employment of people with disabilities, companies attract high-skilled candidates who in turn boost team performance; a winning strategy grounded in inclusion. Furthermore, it’s not only important to create these opportunities but also necessary for companies to manage disability in the workspace once people with disabilities gain the opportunities.
Here are several ways that companies can manage disability in the workspace:
Ensuring accessibility in the workplace
Recruitment agencies need to ensure that they are accessible for persons with disabilities. They need to take into consideration the process of a candidate’s application procedure and ensure that application forms and job descriptions are truly accessible.
To enable all qualified candidates to apply, companies need to have alternative methods to support persons with disabilities. For instance, companies need to actively think about the various participation and movement accessibility needs that persons with disabilities might have and create an inclusive space for them.
Accelerating the provision of unbiased training for all employees
Most employees are likely to be unaware of the impact of the differences experienced by their counterparts in the workspace. Employees without disabilities may often be unaware of the needs and support required for colleagues with disabilities.
By ensuring that all employees are trained on these differences and made aware of the need for impartiality in the workspace, companies promote better management of inclusion. For instance, these trainings can demonstrate how challenging the working environment can be for people with disabilities in the absence of inclusive support or highlight the typical workday for persons with disabilities to foster better understanding of what their experiences are.
Ensuring equal pay for equal work.
All workers should be paid equally. That is their basic human right. Persons with disabilities increasingly make positive contributions to any workforce as they are as qualified to do the job as the rest of the employees. And so, they deserve to be compensated without discrimination. Companies should follow the policies and laws that guide the employment of persons with disabilities and in turn work towards closing the disability pay gap.
Modifying working arrangements to cater for people with disabilities
Companies need to ensure that they adjust the workspace and provide the most convenient way for workers with disabilities to access the office and carry out their duties. For instance, they could offer flexible work arrangements for workers with physical disabilities like remote working or blended working. They could also provide assistive technology that can be implemented to support workers who have a disability. Examples of such technologies include screen readers and voice recognition services that aids workers with disabilities perform their duties easily.
Assigning points of contact for reasonable adjustments
Employers need to ensure that they are meeting the needs of all employees. It is especially important to discuss and continually assess the situation of workers with disabilities and ensuring they get the vital support they need. A point of contact acts as a representative that is trained and aware of the company’s policies and guidelines. They can champion the need for inclusivity in the workspace and work to promote diversity by ensuring that people living with disabilities have their voices heard.