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Guidance on employing disabled workers published

The Business Disability Forum yesterday (November 29) launched its Disability Essentials range of resources, hoping to provide answers to businesses’ key questions.

The free resources offer essential guidance for organisations, including on attracting and recruiting disabled talent, good management practice and managing workplace adjustments. 

Business Disability Forum CEO Diane Lightfoot told HR magazine that it had found many businesses keen to do more on inclusion, but unsure of where to start.

“Our advice is to ask existing colleagues about any barriers they have experienced along the way, and to think about how these could be overcome. 

"Consider every stage of the person’s journey with your organisation from recruitment and onboarding through to job success and career progression," she added.

More on disability and inclusion:

Recruiting more people with disabilities won't happen by accident

How to support staff with disabilities

Government launches National Disability Strategy

The launch will plays a part in the organisation’s celebrations of the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.

Lightfoot added some advice: “It’s important to remember that most disabilities are not immediately visible and are acquired during a person’s working life.”

This, she said, means that you may not always know when someone has a disability – so it is better to make provisions, just in case.

“Don’t make assumptions,” she continued, “and don’t assume that everyone is happy to share details of their disability or will be comfortable identifying as disabled.

“When thinking about adjustments, ask every team member what they need to be able to thrive in their roles.”

Toby Mildon, diversity and inclusion architect at consultancy Mildon, told HR magazine that companies often lack confidence in helping disabled workers.

“When it comes to diversity and inclusion, disability is often an afterthought.

“People are afraid of saying or doing something to cause offence or they don’t have confidence in how to be a disability inclusive organisation.”

The resources provided by the Business Disability Forum, he added, should help fill this confidence gap.

“The resources give very practical and easy to understand guidance, and bring it to life by explaining scenarios very often found in the workplace. For example, what a reasonable adjustment could be for a colleague parking in an overflow car park, if they have difficulty walking to the main entrance.”

He concluded by urging employers to use the free resource and ensure that disability inclusion has the same priority as gender, ethnicity and other protected characteristics.