Support an Inclusive Culture in the Workplace

Oct 24, 2022

Posted by: Kevin Smithwood, Recruiting Manager, Alexander Technology Group

Kevin SmithwoodDid you know that less than 20% of disabled people are actively employed? It’s a staggering statistic about a topic that makes many people uncomfortable. However, being disabled doesn’t mean individuals can’t perform the same tasks as a non-disabled worker. More often than not, these individuals can bring valuable skills to an organization. Supporting an inclusive culture in the workplace doesn’t have to be difficult. Breaking this norm and providing equal opportunity employment for all should be a cornerstone of leading organizations.

Making your organization accessible to all kinds of employees is key to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture in the workplace. In the current employment environment, it’s well known that many employees, both actively employed and those seeking employment, want to work at organizations that put diversity and workplace culture at the top of their priorities. Consider these pointers on how to successfully navigate the sensitive topic of hiring and working with disabled employees.

Handling Sensitive Topics 

Many feel uncomfortable in disclosing private matters, health or otherwise, to a perfect stranger, let alone a stranger who potentially holds the keys to a valuable employment opportunity. Consider that this person has probably lost out on a gainful position before, likely because an employer either didn’t believe the individual was capable or wasn’t prepared themselves to provide true equal opportunity employment. Bottom line is having an interviewee or potential employee, or even tenured staff member, disclose a health or medical condition that may affect their productivity should never be a red flag.

First, thank them for disclosing their situation. It takes courage to be upfront about needing more than the average employee. Then, ask what additional support they would require to be successful in their position. Often these supplementary items are as simple as being allowed to work from home, something that has become a norm in and of itself in the past few years. Remember to have an open mind, and you’ll likely find that adapting to incorporate a wider variety of workers will pay off in happier, more tenured staff that are proud to represent your organization.

Be Cognizant of Additional Needs

Accommodating an individual with extra needs may seem like a daunting task, but it’s usually easier than anticipated. Be it accessibility to the building or office, applications or software to compensate for a deficiency, or a remote work arrangement, meeting a disabled person’s additional support needs is usually something that should already be in place, or is simple enough to provide on their behalf.

In the instance of a vision-impaired individual, they may require additional software, or a larger computer monitor than standard, as well as the ability to work remotely. A handicapped individual in a wheelchair may require ramps, access to an elevator, or an office on the first floor. In addition to delivering material support, consider providing additional training time to ensure each employee is well prepared for success in their new role and that all support means afforded are functioning properly.

You May Be Surprised

In terms of accommodating staff needs, employers may be surprised to realize they already provide modifications to expectations with existing team members. During the Covid-19 pandemic, leading employers redefined the workforce by providing remote and hybrid work opportunities and being more lenient with time off to care for family and selves. With these courtesies already in place, making the decision to provide additional support to an individual whose skills can bring value to your organization should be an easy yes.

About Alexander Technology Group

Alexander Technology Group is the leading provider of technology staffing and recruiting services across Greater Boston and New Hampshire. Since 2007, Alexander Technology Group has provided qualified technology professionals, on a temporary and direct-hire basis, to thousands of organizations throughout the local market.

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About BANKW Staffing

Through its portfolio companies, KBW Financial Staffing & Recruiting, Alexander Technology Group, The Nagler Group, Sales Search Partners, and KNF&T Staffing Resources, BANKW Staffing, LLC is the leading regional provider of temporary and direct-hire staffing services in the areas of finance, accounting, information technology, office and administration, legal, human resources, and sales.

BANKW Staffing companies have received over 100 awards for rapid growth, business excellence, and workplace quality. Recognition includes Inc. 500, Boston Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” and Business NH Magazine’s “Business of the Year”.

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