Workplace Initiative weekly news roundup: December 9, 2019

Here are some highlights from this week’s news about disability inclusion (DI) in the workforce — and how you can use this information to make your company the best it can be.

1. These employees with disabilities are “empowered” by requesting workplace accommodations

What’s reported: For employees with disabilities, asking for accommodations can sometimes feel intimidating. This Bustle article highlights eight individuals who spoke up for themselves to get the help they needed. 

“It opened a very positive dialogue, educated everyone involved, and removed [the] stigma of people with disabilities needing difficult or expensive accommodations,” says Rebecca about requesting necessary supports. “In the end, I felt empowered because I advocated for myself.” 

What it means for you: According to a survey by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), 58 percent of accommodations cost nothing, and nearly all the rest involved a one-time cost that averaged only $500. Understood can help your company adopt a disability inclusion program that empowers employees. 

2. The importance of making company websites accessible to people with disabilities

What’s reported: Many company websites are not accessible for all users. And by law, they should be. For example, a person with visual challenges might need adjustments to the font size. “Business owners carry a responsibility to make their websites accessible to all users,” reports Entrepreneur.

The magazine spoke to Shir Ekerling, co-founder and CEO of accessiBe (a web-accessibility tool), about why it’s important for companies to improve their websites. According to studies conducted by accessiBe, 52 percent of websites fail image-compliance levels. But using tools like accessiBe, which use artificial intelligence (AI), can reduce the cost of making sites compliant. “The power of AI can help make that process easier than ever,” the article states.

What it means for you: People with disabilities are the third largest market segment for business in the U.S., according to the Office of Disability Employment Policy. If your company’s website isn’t compliant with accessibility laws, take steps to make sure it is. 

3. Hollywood is taking a stand for disability inclusion

What’s reported: Hollywood is working to redefine disability inclusion. And advocacy organizations such as Lights! Camera! Access! are focused on increasing employment for people with disabilities in front of and behind the camera, Forbes reports. 

One of the goals of Lights! Camera! Access! is to improve “authentic disability-inclusive diversity portrayals in television, film, advertising, and digital platforms.” The article points out that putting the spotlight on disability inclusion creates “a win for everyone.”

What it means for you: Learn how your company can build an inclusive workplace for people with disabilities. That starts with developing long-term strategies, systems, and support to create an environment where people with disabilities can succeed. 

4. The U.K. government pledged to employ 1 million people with disabilities by 2027. How are they doing?

What’s reported: In 2017, the U.K. government pledged to employ 1 million people with disabilities by 2027. Two years later, the unemployment rate is still twice as high for those with disabilities, Diginomica reports. So why is this, and what can change the tide?

“There’s often fear and a lack of awareness about how to accommodate people with certain needs,” says Camilla Marcus-Dew, an executive at Clarity & Co., a bath-and-beauty products company where 80 percent of the workforce consists of people with disabilities. 

The article argues that adequate workplace technology could be the key to supporting employees with disabilities. And another consideration is “to proactively listen to, and engage with, disabled people about what it is they want and need to be able to participate fully in working life.” 

What it means for you: There are many myths and misconceptions about hiring people with disabilities. But disability inclusion can give your company a competitive edge.

About the author

About the author

The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.