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Disability is often (mis)aligned with inability in the workplace: if an employee has an accident that leaves them with a physical impairment, gets diagnosed with a life-changing disease, or has a mental disability that means they work in a different way, people might see them as less capable than other workers. In fact, one in six people who become disabled lost their job within the first year of their disability (http://bit.ly/1ZHSUyR).  

As well as being discriminatory, this is a completely ineffective way of doing business. Disabled people are an integral part of a bright, diverse and highly-skilled workforce, so ruling them out means missing out on essential skills, talent and experience. By gaining disability confidence, then, employers can recruit, retain and nurture disabled employees for a fair, inclusive and profitable workplace.

The facts about disabilities in the workplace

More than seven million working-age people (17.5 per cent) in the UK are disabled or have a health condition, and, according to Disability Rights UK, the majority of people acquire their disability in adult life – whether this is through an accident, illness or genetic condition. Indeed, 83 per cent of people gain their disability while in work. So, as well as thinking about hiring more people with disabilities and health conditions, organisations need to consider the possibility that any of their employees could gain a disability during their employment.

The Disability Confident campaign

The UK government’s Disability Confident campaign is designed to present employers with the guidance, support and information they need to actively seek out and hire disabled people. It has already been adopted by big-name companies like Asda, ITV, Nationwide, Taylor Wimpey, Fujitsu and EDF Energy, and is a great option for any employers looking to show their customers, stakeholders and staff that they care about fairness and equality.

The benefits of gaining disability confidence

By opting to hire, train and retain disabled workers in a fair and open working environment, employers can access a huge pool of highly-skilled, experienced and talented professionals – rather than cutting off an entire section of workers. They can also make sure they don’t lose loyal and hard-working members of staff who can easily be supported at work. By creating a company culture that is welcoming, inclusive and diverse, organisations can also boost employee morale, as well as setting an example for other businesses in their network.

Here at Luminate, we help people and organisations in London, Surrey and the South East break down barriers about disability and create friendly and supportive working cultures that benefit everyone involved. Contact Roland Chesters today to find out more about gaining disability confidence.

 

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