How aware are those within your organization of the upcoming changes in our workforce? One company created a simple True/False test that was given to all managers/supervisors in the organization to gauge their preparedness for the workforce of tomorrow. Though not "graded," this test increased awareness of the role disability inclusiveness plays in business success.
Real-life experience with people with disabilities in the workplace can eliminate misperceptions and discomfort. Consider participating in Disability Mentoring Day, a program where a person with a disability job shadows in your workplace for one day. To find out more, go to http://www.dmd-aapd.org/
When most people think of disability, they think of disabilities that are obvious to others, such as sensory disabilities or mobility disabilities. But many disabilities, though covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, may not be immediately obvious to others. Many talented individuals with disabilities such as bipolar disorder, depression, cancer, seizure disorder, learning disabilities or some forms of autism may be applying for jobs in your company. Or they may already be in your workforce. Disability inclusive workplace practices should encompass the full spectrum of disability, from obvious to non-obvious conditions.
How many people in your workforce will retire in the next five years? One company anonymously surveyed their workforce about their retirement plans and was shocked to find out that it was likely that they would have to replace one quarter of their employees within three years. Further, the employees retiring were those who tended to be in leadership positions or who possessed a deep knowledge of the job and the organization. Faced with this challenge, the HR department swung into action, creating disability inclusive policies and accommodation systems to keep these workers on the job longer.