Stay informed and ready to meet both everyday challenges and long-term planning and policy-making goals, with focused news, practical information, and strategic insights on all HR-related developments.
Jan. 14 --Becoming known as an organization that is truly friendly to those with disabilities involves a change in mindset, according to an advocate and an HR specialist.
“One very clear first step is for HR professionals to themselves get educated on abilities and how to interact with people who have differing abilities,” Lori Golden, access abilities leader at accounting firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young), said in a Jan. 13 interview with Bloomberg BNA. “Be aware of the person first and the disability second--not a blind manager, but a manager who is blind.”
Employers should “find out what people's abilities are and play to their strengths,” Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbilityUSA, a disabilities advocacy organization, said in a separate Jan. 13 interview. “Somebody with Asperger's might be the best person to do finances in your office. A blind person could be a wonderful proofreader because of the great reading software available now.”
More generally, Mizrahi suggested designating an “accommodations coordinator.” Many accommodations are simple and inexpensive, she pointed out, adding that the Walgreen drugstore chain has estimated it spends less than $50 per person on accommodations for the disabled.
To attract job candidates with disabilities, Golden said, it is important that the organization signal its openness to such people “by the messages you send, by the way you portray yourself on your website. Let people know you welcome people with diverse abilities. Show people with apparent disabilities in company materials--not 'calling them out,' but showing them in the normal course of images.”
Organizational websites also should point candidates to the employer's group for persons with disabilities, if there is one, and explain how to ask for accommodations in interviews, Golden said. Beyond that, training is essential, she said. At EY, inclusiveness training is mandatory for everyone above the manager level, Golden said. “We're not necessarily calling it out as different or special, but weaving it into how people think,” she said.
Organizations should “create an environment that feels supportive by devoting resources to employee networks, resources groups, resources to distribute educational materials, and resources on policies and practices,” Golden said. This will help show that the organization goes beyond the minimum legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, she said. Another example from EY, Golden said, is the existence of a policy on meetings and events that goes well beyond what is required, dealing with everything from how food is served to how to allow persons with disabilities to participate comfortably.
More than six in 10 persons with disabilities who lack full-time work (62 percent) would like to increase their hours but face significant barriers, according to a survey RespectAbility sponsored.
The greatest barrier preventing the disabled from finding a job with competitive wages is health or medical issues--the response of 38 percent of those who have at least some college or an associates degree and 33 percent of those with a high school education or less, according to the poll, which reached 1,969 persons with disabilities. RespectAbility released the results Jan. 10 in an e-mailed statement and teleconference.
By Martin Berman-Gorvine
To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)