Those who have personal experience with a disability (either their own or that of a family member) are more likely to hire, retain, coach and promote people with disabilities in their own organizations. When disability is de-mystified, we are more likely to look beyond a disability to see the talents and the skills the person can bring to the job. Seeing people with disabilities as whole people is the first step to equally including them in your talent management practices—a first step in moving from transactional to strategic disability inclusive practices.
Many organizations make the mistake of failing to meaningfully communicate and translate business strategies for mid-level managers. Managers and supervisors are key players in any kind of strategy implementation, including those focusing on disability. They are often key players in making hiring decisions, in providing coaching and feedback, in promotion decisions, in training and in providing accommodations. No disability inclusiveness strategy will be successfully implemented if managers and supervisors are not on board.
Authors such as Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton in The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action (2000) have illustrated how the main challenge in moving from a transactional to a strategic HR orientation is to get beyond "knowing" and toward "doing." Often our efforts to implement new strategies or initiatives get stuck at the "knowing" level--we provide an organization-wide training session and assume this will be enough to bring about real change. Yet, it seldom is. To bring about sustained disability inclusive HR practices, you will probably need to do more than simply providing training or passing out brochures. You will need to respond to the real-life workplace incentives, motivations and barriers around disability inclusiveness that characterize your organization’s climate; you will need to create a framework for sustained messages and expectations around disability inclusiveness.