September is Disability Employment month in British Columbia, and the Career Centre is celebrating our inclusive employers and the important contributions individuals with disabilities are making in the workplace. Watch for our employer panel discussion that will be airing in the second half of September where we speak with three local employers about their experiences with, and the benefits of, having an inclusive and diverse workplace. More than a half million British Columbians live with some form of disability including physical, mental and emotional. Individuals in the workforce may still face discriminatory and/or illegal business practices and/or policies.
Numerous studies indicate hiring strategies that include a diverse and inclusive workforce have proven beneficial. Businesses have seen measured increases in relevance, innovation and adaptability, among other areas, by proactively creating a culture of inclusion, which also extends to workers with disabilities. Companies and organizations that have a diverse workforce are often perceived as better employers and enjoy a more positive reputation in their community.
Employers often have questions around supporting employees with disabilities and what job accommodations look like. Many times there is funding available for select accommodations.
Questions for businesses to consider include:
- What limitations is the employee experiencing?
- How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
- What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
- What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
- Has the employee been consulted regarding possible accommodations?
- Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
- Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?
(Job Accommodation Network, askjan.org)
Job accommodations can be something as simple as modifying job tasks or work schedules. Sometimes accommodations can include assistive technologies, such as telephone headsets or adjustable height desks. We work with the Neil Squire Society who provides services designed to assist individuals stay or re-enter the workforce with suitable accommodations.
Questions? We can help. If you are an individual with a disability wondering about your options or pathway into the workforce, give us a call. Are you an employer who would like to learn more about programs available to assist you in supporting workers with disabilities? We want to hear from you!