Given that 7.6 million working age people in the UK have a disability, many of whom can and want to work, it’s reasonable to expect diverse teams to be visible in the workplace. And, as it’s obvious that people with disabilities are as talented and have the same range of strengths as those without, it’s time that companies widen their talent pool to include disabled people if they don’t already do so. Yes, companies may have to make workplace adjustments, but these are more than mitigated by getting the best candidate for the job. Historically, the workplace has tended to be male dominated with an under representation of ethnic groups, and people with disabilities. However, some companies have started on the journey of inclusion, even signing up to the government’s Disability Confident employer scheme which is designed to help employers recruit and retain disabled people for their skills and talent.
Obviously, to do this, employers need a change of approach. They need to be open to changing their processes and established set-ups of recruitment and retention to aid inclusivity.
Naturally this takes time, but so far, 8,300 companies have engaged in a recruitment and retention of disabled people programme by signing up to the Disability Confident ‘Committed ‘level.
A further 3,200 companies have moved up from that to ‘Employer’ level, where they must take action to deliver on the commitment, and finally, around 200 companies have attained ‘Leader’ status which means that they demonstrate to employees, customers and communities the positive influence of having a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Companies obviously have to take physical steps and adjustments to provide better accessibility options and workplace availability to cater for disabled employees – and have a clear and consistent core message ingrained throughout the organisation.
Of course, rather than being compelled to take action, it is far better for companies to take a proactive approach to inclusivity, and for those who have, the results have been overwhelmingly positive as they reap the rewards of recruiting the best staff.
Lewis Reed Group
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