Is your business doing enough to support people with disabilities?

When it comes to providing an inclusive workplace for people with disabilities, some businesses believe that following the legally correct policies is enough. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

Whilst many employers do their best make reasonable workplace adjustments, staff perception and awareness of disability in the workplace is equally as important- but commonly neglected. The truth is, even if a business provides the most inclusive working environment available-  these adjustments are worthless if your staff lack an inclusive mind-set.

Some employers may feel that their staff are a friendly and considerate group, and therefore do not need such training. However, you’d be surprised to learn that a recent Scope survey revealed that 67% of the British public actually ‘feel uncomfortable’ when talking to disabled people and ‘awkward’ about being patronising or saying the wrong thing.

At Enable Me, we educate workforces by breaking down these barriers and changing the way people think. Our disability awareness training programmes are user-led (meaning the courses are run by people with disabilities themselves), and cover etiquette, communication correct use of language, and inclusive behaviour, as well as legislation and adapting the business environment.

Understanding disability

At Enable Me, we also aim to break the common misconception that your businesses may be ‘unaffected by disability’ as there aren’t any people with disabilities working for the company- therefore adjustments and training are not required.

Currently 12 million people in the UK have a disability, and vast numbers of people have what are known as ‘hidden disabilities’ including sensory disabilities, a range of mental health conditions, brain Injury, epilepsy, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, cystic fibrosis- to mention just a few. So, it’s highly likely that as a company, you already employ someone with a disability, that you didn’t even know about.

Furthermore, it is also worth considering that disability is something that can occur – in fact, only 17% of people are actually born with a disability, 83% acquire it later in life. In total, 780,000 people become disabled every year, therefore the idea that disability won’t affect an organisation is also a perception that should change.

The benefits of awareness

If your staff are client facing, there is a good chance you are neglecting to capitalise on a very vast number of potential customers. Households with a disabled person have a combined income of £212 billion after housing costs- so failing to target this market is a huge waste – one which awareness training can help you change.

Enable Me’s training will empower your workforce with a greater sense of empathy, and will also encourage them to understand the needs of other people. Your business will begin to appeal to a wider group of talented employees, and furthermore, you will proudly reap the reward of publicity when you declare your dedication to becoming a fully inclusive organisation.

So if you want your business to be truly inclusive, your staff to be empathetic and understand the needs of people, whilst you tap into a wider group of customers and talented employees- contact Enable Me -and gain the awareness your business needs.

Reputation Matters by Chris Jay from Enable Me an accredited Reputation Advocate.

For further details on how Enable Me can help your workforce gain a positive perception of disability call: 01903 734400 or email chris@enablemeproject.org.uk

www.enablemeproject.org.uk

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