Workplace accessibility is essential for enabling employees with disabilities and neurodiverse employees to contribute fully. Yet many organizations still fall short in recognizing and accommodating accessibility needs. The 9 principles of Employee Care provide guidance for cultivating truly accessible work cultures.
Human Relationships: Building relationships based on trust and understanding makes discussing accessibility needs comfortable. Managers should regularly check in with employees on optimal communication methods and workplace adjustments. Peer mentorship programs can provide community and support.
Human Respect starts with recognizing mobility, sensory, cognitive and other limitations without judgment. Any attitudes of ignorance or patronization must be actively confronted. Accommodations should be made swiftly, professionally and discreetly.
Human Relevance: Understanding each individual's capabilities allows for crafting roles and responsibilities that are personally relevant. Leaders must identify strengths to leverage, and potential areas of support needed to enable success.
Human Recognition: Contributions and achievements of employees with disabilities should be recognized equally to those without. Implicit biases that downplay accomplishments must be vigilantly challenged. Providing equitable recognition fosters inclusion.
Human Responsibility: Fostering accessibility is a shared duty. Employees should clearly communicate their needs. Employers must respond with urgency, compassion and discretion. Co-workers should also provide assistance informally if comfortable.
Human Routines: Habitual business practices often create unintended barriers. Ensuring accessibility means frequently re-evaluating workflows, communications, tools, physical spaces and policies through the lens of diverse needs.
Human Readiness: Workplaces can prepare for employees with disabilities through accessibility training and onboarding resources. Ensure managers understand legal obligations and best practices. Proactively remove barriers in physical spaces, technology, policies and culture.
Human Records: Meticulous record-keeping enables continuity of accommodations during transitions. Document agreed accommodations, assistive technologies provided, workplace modifications, etc. Maintain strict confidentiality standards.
Human Representation: Include employees with disabilities in decision-making processes impacting accessibility. Their insights and feedback are invaluable for enhancing inclusion. Consider an accessibility advocate role.
In summary, adopting Employee Care principles entails embracing accessibility as a collective responsibility and moral imperative. This requires understanding that disabilities encompass a spectrum of visible and invisible needs. Accessibility must be holistically woven through all aspects of workplace culture, processes, technologies and physical infrastructure. With care and inclusion, employees with disabilities thrive, and all benefit from their diverse perspectives.
FIC Human Resource Partners' can help ensure that your organization is cultivating truly accessible work cultures based on diversity, equity, and inclusion.