How HR Can Help Workers with Disabilities

August 7, 2002

Here are eight reminders about employment of employees with disabilities.

Provide a comfortable environment in which an open discussion ofissues is welcomed.

Describe what the interview process involves, i.e., any tests or jobdemonstrations, so that the interviewee can be prepared. Fifty-five percent ofindividuals interviewed cited a company’s culture and work environment as acritical factor in their employment success.

Increase employer knowledge about assistive technology and what it can dofor an employee with special needs.

Provide IT staff with training on AT so that they can be prepared toaddress any compatibility problems between the company’s systems and anemployee’s technology. Fifty-five percent of individuals interviewed believed that ATavailability and use was fundamental to their employability.

Provide more opportunities such as summer jobs and internships for individuals with disabilities, since these experiences will introduce people with disabilities to the world of work. Such an experience can alleviate some of the hardships of the job search by providing valuable interviewing andwork skills. Nearly 33 percent of those interviewed wished there were moreinternship and training opportunities available to people with disabilities.

Consider flextime and time-sharing options. The option of a flexible workschedule was the third most common accommodation made for the group ofindividuals interviewed.

Provide more diversity training to HR professionals and other staffresponsible for conducting interviews. Forty percent of participants felt thatthere is still a need for more training and education about disabilities foremployers.

Provide more training to all employees about disabilities. Fifty-fivepercent of the individuals interviewed cited supportive and open-mindedcoworkers and supervisors as one of the critical factors in their employmentsuccess.

Workforce, August 2002, p. 44 -- Subscribe Now!