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Expressing a Commitment to Disability Inclusion

Learn about effective strategies for communicating your organization's commitment to disability inclusion as part of an overall strategy to meet your organization's DEIA goals.

Expressing a commitment to a diverse workplace welcoming of the skills and talents of people with disabilities is one of the easiest ways to foster a disability-inclusive culture and work toward meeting diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals. Learn about strategies employers of all sizes in various industries have used to express a commitment to disability inclusion.

7 Ways to Express a Commitment to Workplace Disability Inclusion

A woman in a wheelchair talks with her coworkers
Expressing a commitment to disability inclusion is a key first step in fostering an inclusive workplace culture.
  1. Develop and communicate policy statements and other illustrations of the company’s commitment to inclusion of workers with disabilities. For example, “Business is becoming increasingly global. As [COMPANY NAME] continues to expand, our differences—from our culture and work habits, communication style and personal preferences—are becoming even more essential to our business strategy. We are working hard to create an environment in which all employees are valued and respected, including those with disabilities.”
  2. Establish an enterprise-wide team consisting of executives, managers and employees with disabilities to support and advance the recruiting, hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities. This team may also function as a disability-focused employee resource group (ERG) or affinity group.
  3. Make (and publicize) the “business case” (PDF) for hiring people with disabilities. For example, framing the issue in communication with managers, leadership, etc. in terms of return on investment and direct and indirect benefits to the company and its employees, such as higher productivity, lower absenteeism and turnover, and increased employee morale.
  4. Include disability as part of all of the company’s diversity policies and activities. This includes using the words “disability” and “people with disabilities” in statements defining the company’s diversity policies, inviting disability organizations and people with disabilities to the company’s diversity events, and recognizing that people with disabilities are part of the company’s other diverse communities (including racial and ethnic minorities, veterans and the LGBTQ+ community).
  5. Affirm in policy statements the company’s commitment to equal employment opportunity for people with disabilities and taking affirmative steps to recruit, hire, retain and advance workers with disabilities at all levels.
  6. Encourage employees with disabilities, and their coworkers and managers, to identify barriers and individual and systemic concerns without fear of retribution, and offer mechanisms to allow them to provide this information anonymously or confidentially.
  7. Establish a universal policy offering workplace flexibility and accommodations for all applicants and employees, with and without disabilities, including the use of telework options if appropriate.

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