How to make your workplace inclusive

How to make your workplace inclusive

How inclusive is your business for people with disabilities?

Think about your current environment, team structure, roles and culture. Are they accessible and inclusive? Could a person with a disability easily start work in your business tomorrow?

How to make your workplace inclusive

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005 provides information about how to make workplaces more inclusive.

Here is a 10 point checklist to help you make your workplace more disability inclusive.

1. Make a commitment
Develop a written plan or strategy to demonstrate your commitment to access and inclusion. It should cover potential employees, employees and customers/clients.
This commitment could also be affirmed by the wording in your mission statement, organizational policies and/or job descriptions.

2. Consider your physical premises
Ensure your workplace is accessible for people with disabilities. This includes:
– Outside facilities i.e. parking, entrances and signage
– Inside the workplace i.e. wide doorways and hallways, accessible meeting spaces and restrooms and assisted listening devices.

3. Don’t forget non-physical considerations
Non-physical considerations could include:
– Employee training and ongoing guidance on disability awareness and inclusiveness
– Including provisions for accessibility when planning meetings, training and events
– Encouraging the establishment of an affinity group for employees with disabilities.

4. Think about technology
Does your IT team have knowledge about accessible technology?
All software, hardware and essential internal technology tools and systems should be accessible for employees with disabilities.

5. Workplace adjustments
Ensure you have a procedure to guide employees on how to request adjustments to enable them to perform their jobs.

6. External communications and marketing
Your website and digital communications should be accessible for people who are vision impaired and/or use screen readers. Don’t use coloured text over a similar coloured background. Make sure copy is as clear as possible, such as dark text over light coloured background or white text over heavy or dark coloured backgrounds. A 12-point font is a good minimum for all printed communications too. i.e. font type, colours, use of images.
All external content should feature appropriate and inclusive language and images of people with disabilities.

7. Accessible design
Consider customers/clients with disability in the design of your products/services.

8. Recruitment
Make your application process (including online applications), accessible and consider if the interview process is accessible and adaptable.
Actively encourage job applications from people with disabilities and ensure job advertisements and materials are available in alternative formats.
Ensure your recruitment team/partner receives training on inclusive and accessible recruitment practices.

9. Onboarding and development
Orientation and induction programs should be accessible and adaptable for all abilities.
Ensure a clear and simple process for hiring managers to request workplace modifications for new employees.
Provide training, resources and ongoing support for hiring managers/supervisors to help them support employees with disabilities with their everyday roles and career development.

10. Suppliers and partners
Consider inclusion and access when making procurement and purchasing decisions.
Make a commitment to diverse supplier engagement, including outreach to supplier/partner businesses that are owned or staffed by people with disabilities.

Creating an inclusive workplace will enable a diverse team of employees to thrive, which has many benefits for your business.

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