Key takeaways for employers from our most popular LinkedIn posts in 2019

Thu 19 December 2019

This was a year of unprecedented global interest in accessibility, inclusion of people with disability, and the power of individuals and organisations to affect positive change. The business imperative to understand and strengthen inclusion of people with disability was reported by some of the most influential media outlets in the world. And, of course, those messages were spread far and wide on social media.

So, what topics resonated most with our network? Which conversations piqued the interest of Australia’s business leaders, HR professionals and diversity and inclusion practitioners?

Here’s a roundup of key takeaways for employers from our most popular LinkedIn posts in 2019.

“The Power of Person-First Language in the Workplace: Why the Words You Use Matter”, Entrepreneur

Key takeaways:

  • Language is a powerful method for shaping–and changing for the better–the attitudes and culture of our workplaces.
  • The aim of person-first language is to empower the person over anything else.
  • Putting the person first means treating a disability as one of numerous personal characteristics rather than one that defines them.
  • Person-first language also requires that we eliminate language that demeans from our everyday vocabulary–words and phrases like 'crazy', 'retarded', 'spaz', 'handicapped', 'are you deaf?', and 'are you blind?'
  • Using person-first language is the first and most important step toward creating a safe environment for an individual with disability.
  • As you consider how a new employee with a disability will thrive in your workplace, think of reasonable accommodations [also known as workplace adjustments] as productivity tools that help all your employees work in a safe and productive environment.
  • Let your employees with disability know they belong and add value by ensuring that everyone at your company has access to the same information, tools, documents and services that make it a good place to work.

Read the full article by Entrepreneur, including ten tips for working with people with disability.

Related resources: 

“How to Disclose a Disability to Your Employer (and Whether You Should)”, The New York Times

Key takeaways:

  • Disclosure [of disability] during the interview process can open up a world of support. Or, worst case, it can reveal an atmosphere in which you wouldn’t feel comfortable working, anyway.
  • The accommodation [workplace adjustment] changes how you do the work. It doesn’t change whether you do the work. You still have to meet the basic productivity requirements, the basic outcomes of the job, just in different ways or in a different location or using different equipment.
  • If the employee is feeling in any way concerned that the employer is not responding positively, make sure you’re taking notes and keeping records of those interactions.
  • After realising the only successful job applications she submitted were ones on which she didn’t mention that she used a wheelchair, Ms. Dupont decided to disclose only after getting an in-person interview.

Read the full article by The New York Times.

Related resources: 

“4 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Disability-Inclusion Practices”, Harvard Business Review

Key takeaways:

  • They [businesses] see hiring (some) persons with disabilities as being “the right thing to do” but do not see it as part of a talent strategy that will benefit the company and outweigh what they see as the potential expenses and risk. That mindset puts companies at a disadvantage when it comes to acquiring and leveraging the talent they need in today’s tight job market.
  • Accommodations [workplace adjustments] for the majority of people with disability cost nothing. And when there is a cost involved with providing technology or other tools, it’s usually less than $500 and there are tax incentives available to help.
  • Recent economic modelling (part of an award-winning research study conducted by Accenture, the American Association of People with Disabilities, and Disability:IN) found a strong correlation between financial performance and well-developed disability-inclusion practices.
  • Are your recruiting and hiring processes discouraging applicants with disability, or limiting their ability to demonstrate their strengths?
  • At Microsoft, managers realised that people with autism weren’t getting hired despite clearly having the required knowledge and intellect. As Jenny Lay-Flurrie, the company’s chief accessibility officer, told us, “We discovered that the problem was the interview process, so we did away with that process entirely for candidates with autism.”
  • Companies should consider required training for all employees with and without disability — especially anyone in a management or supervisory role. The primary goals of this training are to help people better understand and empathise with the challenges their colleagues may face and reduce the stigma of being a person with disability.
  • Companies can start to build a robust recruitment pipeline in part by engaging with groups that support people with disability.
  • Training programs and opportunities to connect with other employees will help ensure that people with disability develop and succeed.

Read the full article by Harvard Business Review.

Related resources: 

“What's The Difference Between Mental Health And Mental Illness?”, HuffPost

Key takeaways:

  • We all have mental health, yet it can often be conflated with mental illness and the two are very different, not least because mental illness – which affects one in four people in their lifetime – can be utterly debilitating.
  • If we can understand the difference between mental health, mental illness and the gap in between, we can start to remove the stigma around the language, which is the first step in opening and normalising conversations.
  • In very simple terms, it may be helpful to think of mental health as existing on a continuum. It can vary depending on lifestyle factors such as how much sleep we’re getting, how stressful work is, whether we’re exercising and what our diet is like.
  • A mental health issue (or mental health problem) is where someone show signs that something isn’t right for them – they could be tearful, anxious or angry about certain things, or they may withdraw from situations.
  • A mental illness affects your ability to function day to day. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and personality disorders are all considered mental illnesses.
  • It’s also important to start a conversation if you are concerned about someone else, adds Pay: “If you are coming from a place of genuineness and compassion, just asking someone how they are and taking the time to listen can be all someone needs to begin a journey to restore their mental health.”

Read the full article by HuffPost.

Related resources: 

“What are you doing to ensure people with disability have equal access to work opportunities in your organisation?”, Pro Bono Australia

Key takeaways:

  • For many people with disability, a major obstacle to obtaining work is unconscious bias.
  • [Employing people with disability] gives organisations greater diversity, which inspires innovative thinking and better decision making through exposure to a variety of perspectives. In fact, research reveals that diversity in an organisation is good for all employees, not just people with disability.
  • It’s clear that the only way to change the experiences of people with disability and improve access to labour market participation is for us as employers to change our employment and recruitment practices.
  • For the past two years Life Without Barriers has committed itself to a robust Accessibility, Inclusion and Employment Plan. We’ve pledged to make 12 per cent of all new recruits people with disability by 2022, among a range of other measures.
  • To help kick start your journey, we’ve come up with some questions you can ask yourself and some actions you can take…

Read the full article by Pro Bono Australia.

Related resources: 

About us 

Australian Network on Disability (AND) is Australia’s strongest business disability network. Through our services, programs and tools, we support more than 270 public and private organisations to be actively and confidently inclusive of people with disability in all aspects of business.

Find out more about what we do in our Annual Report 2019.  

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