In our experience there are a number of key issues preventing businesses from becoming disability confident. These are:
Senior business leaders who are the custodians of an organisations culture are often held back because they lack confidence in talking about disability or to disabled people.
When it comes to implementing diversity and inclusion, businesses often take a hierarchical and siloed approach (seeing different groups of employees separately and not recognising intersectionality). Unfortunately disability is often one of the last groups to be addressed. This has been beautifully captured by the Valuable 500 Campaign in their comical Diversish short film. This unfortunately holds many organisations back from even creating a disability inclusion strategy (even embedded in their existing diversity and inclusion plans).
There is a false assertion that it is expensive to employ disabled people. This is not true. The average Reasonable Adjustment (as per the Equality Act 2010) is about £80. Businesses very often waste time and money with improper workplace adjustments processes (they don’t get economies of scale, wasting management time in inefficient systems/processes et cetera).
Solutions to enhancing disability confidence
We propose a number of solutions to enhance your disability confidence across the organisation. This empowers your senior leaders and ensures your business has the right architecture in place to be a disability confident business. We find that investing in disability confidence means that you build an inclusive workplace for everybody else at the same time.
Executive Awareness: increasing confidence in talking about disability and executive sponsorship
We will conduct an awareness raising session on disability inclusion with your executive/senior leadership team. To achieve this we will conduct a discussion using the Thinking Environment method, which allows people to take time out of the daily grind of business and think with clarity on a particular issue (in this case disability inclusion). Your senior leadership team will be invited to read one of our latest thought leadership pieces on disability inclusion, for example, “are you being unreasonable?” or “what’s your work style? Are you judged on outcomes or where you sit?”. This session will:
Raise awareness of disability issues in the workplace and how disabled employees should be supported
Provide a safe environment for attendees to discuss disability matters that might otherwise be feared or seen as a taboo.
End with practical action planning that senior leaders can take away to promote a disability inclusive workplace and culture
Disability Confidence: developing a solid plan and becoming recognised as a disability inclusive employer
Disability Confident is a scheme created by the Department for Work and Pensions to help employers improve in attracting and recruiting people with disabilities and then retaining and developing disabled talent. We will partner with you to help you become a Disability Confident Leader (the top tier). This is how we will do it:
We will sign you up as Disability Confident Committed (level I), which means that you receive a certificate and a Disability Confident committed badge that you can use on your website and stationery. To become a Disability Confident committed employer and start your Disability Confident journey, you will need to consider the commitments below.
Ensure your recruitment process is inclusive and accessible
Communicate and promote vacancies
Offer interviews to disabled people
We will then work with you to ensure that you have everything in place to become a Disability Confident Employer (level II). We will seek out evidence to support what you are currently doing well. We will identify gaps where you need to improve and give you detailed guidance on how to close the gap. We will do the DWP self-assessment for you after this exercise in order to achieve your Disability Confident Employer status.
Once you have achieved level II we will work with you so that you become a Disability Confident Leader. By stepping up to become a Disability Confident Leader, you’ll be acting as a champion within your local and business communities. To reach this level you’ll need to:
have your self-assessment validated by someone outside of your business
show what you have done as a Disability Confident Leader
Once you’re recognised as a Disability Confident Leader, you’ll be sent:
a certificate in recognition of your achievement
a badge for your website and other materials for 3 years
Disability confident policy: telling others what you are committed to
We will create a simple disability confident policy that you can include alongside your other business policies (for example, equality, diversity & inclusion policy) to clearly communicate to employees what your commitment to disability confidence is and what people’s responsibilities are.
Workplace and Reasonable Adjustments Review: ensuring employees have what they need to thrive
As an employer you are duty-bound to provide Reasonable Adjustments to disabled employees and people with long-term health conditions as per the Equality Act 2010. In our experience most organisations provide the bare minimum in providing adjustments and they are not taking advantage of the productivity gains and efficiency savings in providing high quality workplace adjustments. We argue that workplace adjustments should be made available to all employees so that they can thrive in the workplace. One of our latest articles explains our thinking on this. We will:
Conduct a review of your current workplace adjustments process to ensure its effectiveness and future viability
Speak with disabled employees about their first-hand experience of requesting and receiving workplace adjustments to suggest improvements. We will also speak to nondisabled employees that benefit from workplace adjustments, for example, working parents and flexible working.
We will create a business case for any improvements that you need to make to your reasonable adjustments process.
We will review (if you have one) your reasonable adjustments policy to ensure it meets your needs. We will suggest improvements or if you don’t have a policy we will create one for you.
Available for advice: a shortcut to solving disability and inclusion concerns
We will provision a number of hours as part of this work package to provide advice/consultancy on disability inclusion matters. You can obtain advice over email, by phone or in person meetings. We are experienced coaches, trainers and facilitators and will bring all of these skills to providing advice. Every time you seek advice we will deduct the time it takes to provide the advice from your allocated budget (track time down to the minute). If we cannot answer the question ourselves we are well connected with disability experts and will find an answer for you regardless. Consider this your personal disability inclusion helpdesk.
Additional signposting: tapping into an extensive network of expertise
We are very well connected within the disability, diversity and inclusion space and will gladly signpost and introduce you to subject matter experts as required. For example, we can introduce you to:
Experts in creating effective disabled employee resource groups/networks
Experts in website and digital accessibility to reach more customers
Software providers in more efficient delivery of workplace adjustments
Trainers and coaches in diversity and inclusion topics
Executive leadership workshop for boosting confidence in talking about disability inclusion and fostering an inclusive culture
Public recognition that you are disability confident committed and all of the collateral submitted to DWP to be recognised as a disability confident employer.
An action plan to achieve greater disability inclusion.
Collateral submitted to an external disability confident assessor so that you can be considered for disability confident leader status.
Assessment and recommendations on how you can improve your workplace adjustments process so that you are more efficient and effective.
Having your disability inclusion questions answered through advice and signposting service.
By investing in this work package you should expect:
Greater confidence amongst your senior leadership team in discussing disability matters and commitment to disability inclusion (adding to your already strong position on diversity and inclusion)
Public recognition that you are a disability confident employer and making a positive difference to your industry at large (if you achieve disability leader status)
A coherent disability inclusion strategy to complement what you are already doing in diversity and inclusion to ensure that you are positioned as a leading employer, not diverseish and recognised as such
Confidence that your workplace adjustments process is fit for purpose and that it is efficient and effective as possible, which should earn you efficiency savings and an increase in employee satisfaction
A saving in time and energy in resolving disability questions or challenges by having access to expert advice and signposting.
Ultimately, we want to enable you to attract the best talent, keep it and build a workplace where everybody can thrive (because you have an organisational architecture and culture that empowers this).