Disability Employment Awareness – Useful Info

Disability employment awareness month in October, has come and gone.  I feel that we need more than a month of Disability employment awareness.  We need to talk more about job discrimination in South Africa. We need to promote self-employment and entrepreneurship in the disability community.  Employees who have a disability are good workers.  They are reliable and consistent.  They are dedicated more than most.

Disability Awareness Includes:

  • An open discussion about the stigma and misconceptions surrounding people with disabilities.
  • Changing the thinking and behavior that prevents the growth of a company or organization.
  • Skills development that will help staff communicate and work with people with disabilities.

What are the Potential Benefits to your Company or Organisation?

  • Focus on employee relations
  • Ability to accommodate customers with disabilities
  • increased productivity and growth
  • Improvement of company and organizations staff

Steps for Working With Employees with a Disability

  • Show Support – by creating an environment that is supportive and caring.  Employees may offer help with childcare, lifts to doctor or fundraising.
  • Communicate – Keep in touch via phone calls.  Employees and supervisors should both do this.
  • Maintaining Benefits – Look for ways to help disabled employees maintain their health and disability insurance as its vital for well-being.
  • Put Accommodations In Place – such as flexible schedules, part-time work, less travel, working from home and a private resting place for ill employees.  Adaptive furniture and equipment is obviously necessary.  Having a specified parking close to the entrance and motorized wheelchair can help too.
  • A Warm Welcome – make an effort to welcome back when the employee has been to the hospital.  Provide balloons, cards, flowers, and a welcome back banner to show them how much you appreciate them.  Decorate the employees’ desk with motivational quotes using colorful post-it notes.
  • Healthy Snacks – should be offered at midday as a pick-me-up.  The employee will be drained and energy will be low first few days returning to work, just check any dietary restrictions the employee has first.