How Australian workplaces should cater for disability friendly environments

Much has changed over the past decade as the Australian society has become increasingly aware of the need to extend its support to people with disabilities and help them lead a meaningful life. At the same time, Australian employers have come to realize that people with disabilities can be a real asset. Here’s what can you do to make your business disability friendly.

Change your mindset

That’s fundamental, as many people unfortunately have a subconscious bias against people with some sort of disability. Decades ago, people with a motor disability would have been confined to their own homes strictly on the basis of the fact that they cannot walk. Nobody ever questioned whether a man or a woman in a wheelchair can become an excellent teacher or engineer. It was not how things were done back then.

However, at present, public institutions, including educational ones, are required by law to provide equal access to people with disabilities. Also, modern technology now allows many people to overcome their disabilities and get an education. For the rest, it is up to business owners to welcome these people in their organisations.

Work with organisations that cater to the disabled

Once you understand the need and benefits of employing people with disabilities, the next logical step is to get in contact with organisations dedicated to helping these people. For instance, a business can partner up with a Disability Employment Service and reach out to them when they’re looking for a new employee.

Change your recruitment protocols

In some cases, a person with a certain disability might have difficulties in coming to and sustaining a typical job interview. Human Resources managers need to get creative and design new protocols that would facilitate the interaction with that person.

Think about workplace accessibility

Turning back to the previous example with the man in a wheelchair, how hard is it to install access ramps to make your workplace accessible to people with motor impairments? The investment is minimal and what you get in return are employees who can be great in their field, as a motor impairment does not affect intellectual capacities in any way.

Conduct background screening checks on employees

If you didn’t already do it, conducting criminal record checks like a national character check on your employees is a must when you decide to open the door to people with disabilities. Obviously, a business owner should strive to make the workplace safe for all employees, but you have to consider the fact that people with disabilities are more vulnerable. You don’t want to have dangerous people in your organisation who might find a disabled colleague to bother. Criminal record checks can help weed this out. Today, it’s so easy to run a background check on a prospective employee using an online accredited agency that can do the job in just a couple of days. The application for checks can be completed online. A direct link to an online application that your workplace can use is here.

Have a mental wellness program in place

Again, this is something you should have in mind for all your employees, as many people struggle with stress and mental issues these days. At an organisational level, you should implement an inclusive policy and take steps that all employees feel appreciated, disabled or not.