Supporting and empowering staff with disability
11th August 2021
Learning how to support and empower employees with disability is the first step to creating an inclusive workplace.
There are a number of things you can do to ensure your business caters to employees with diverse needs, starting with understanding the individual requirements of each team member.
DISABILITY AWARENESS TRAINING
Disability awareness training gives employers the resources and tools they need to give the right support to employees with disability. This can include courses in Mental Health First Aid, sign language, or deaf awareness training, or simply provide tips to encourage supportive practices in the workplace.
Maintain open, non-judgemental communication with your employees. Having conversations where both sides listen as much as they talk can help build strong relationships, identify problem areas, and provide opportunities to improve.
It is important to familiarise yourself with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and always take a sensitive, positive and constructive approach to employment and performance management of people with disability.
Some employees may require adjustments to the workplace, workload, or schedule to carry out their job. Making these changes to your workplace can remove barriers for people with disability and empower them to succeed in their role.
Examples of reasonable adjustments:
- flexible working hours
- relaxing requirements to provide medical certificates for sick leave absences
- providing extra training and retraining
- adjusting the environment of the workspace (if possible)
- implementing achievable workloads and specific tasks
- establishing goals, prompts, reminders, and checklist to help with time management
- access to professional mentoring, coaching, or on the job peer support
- identifying and modifying tasks to suit the individual employee’s abilities.
Each person has unique experiences and circumstances that can determine the way they work. The way you manage an individual’s performance should demonstrate your understanding and acceptance of this.
Resolving performance issues
When a problem with an employees’ performance occurs, you should:
- address the issue immediately
- work together with your employee to create objective performance measures
- modify the practice or approach that caused the issue
- check-in with the employee regularly to ensure any issues are being addressed as promised, and make further changes if required
- recognise improvements as they occur, and share praise.
Post-placement support is beneficial in helping you retain staff and maximise the long-term benefits to your business.
HELP Employment and Training offers post-placement support that includes:
- supporting you and your employee on and off the job
- helping your new employee settle into your workplace
- coordination of workplace adjustments, support, and training
- employee consultants who work with you to develop individualised support plans
- addressing workplace concerns
- identifying additional needs
- implementing strategies to manage certain situations – for you and your employee
- assisting your employee with reporting employment and income
To find how we can help you support and empower employees with disability, contact us today.