5 Ways to make workplaces more inclusive for people with disabilities

Vikrant Shetty

May 19, 2023

11:52 am

An estimated one in five working-age adults in the United States has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite this, people with disabilities face discrimination and exclusion in the workplace. Employing people with impairments is only one aspect of creating a disability-inclusive workplace. To encourage a workplace that is truly inclusive of people with disabilities, employers should ensure that every employee has access to equal opportunities to learn, achieve, grow, and get fair compensation. A successful environment for persons with disabilities can be created with the help of thoughtful, evidence-based long-term policies, processes, and support. The goals of the organization should be aligned with and supported by an inclusive workplace. Here are five ways to make workplaces more inclusive for people with disabilities:

1. Create a strategy for including disability in your DEI activities.

Even though many businesses are embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs, disability is frequently ignored. Statistics from the Return on Disability Group reveal that while 90% of corporations assert that diversity is a priority, just 4% take disability into account in their diversity initiatives.

Recognize the diversity within the disability community, including people with physical, cognitive, sensory, and mental health issues, and those who are Indigenous, or people of color. Make sure you have representation of persons with impairments in your DEI committee.

2. Find, hire, and keep the best

As part of your recruiting and hiring process, you want to draw in and choose candidates who have the skills and attributes required for the open positions. The employer must make sure that anyone who meets the requirements for the post, including those with disabilities, can apply. Reaching out to the community and using a range of recruitment sources are the greatest ways to locate qualified candidates.

Here are a few ways to hire and retain the best employee:

  • Contact regional case managers for vocational rehabilitation, such as those at Allsup Employment Services (AES), who can put you in touch with eligible local candidates.
  • Get in touch with local universities, community colleges, and technical and vocational institutions’ disability resource centers.
  • Support local charities by sponsoring fundraisers, then interacting with guests to discuss job opportunities.
  • Establish internships that can improve and support your hiring process.

3. Think about working with a career coach

Northwest Center is one of many organizations that provide services for employees with disabilities, such as job placement and on-the-job assistance. These businesses help employers reduce obstacles to the recruitment and retention of workers with impairments.

Creating an inclusive workplace and regularly seeking employee input on your efforts are not just “the ethical thing to do,” but also prudent business practices. Accenture research shows that businesses that actively seek out disabled job candidates have 28% higher sales, higher net profits, and higher shareholder returns. A truly inclusive workplace fosters creativity, productivity, and employee morale, and builds an accessible culture during this moment of reconstruction.

4. Inform People of Your Disability Broad-based Inclusion Strategy

Ensure that every employee on your staff consistently understands the importance of your effort to include people with disabilities. When workers at all levels of the business are informed and involved, an inclusive workplace grows. The inclusion plan should link to your organization’s goals in your communications.

Here are some ideas for spreading the word:

  • Presentations by the leadership team are essential for getting the support of all employees and ensuring that they understand the plan.
  • Try to share the message through email, the company intranet, social media, and office signs or posters.
  • Share your success tales.

Social media is a fantastic tool to share your plan and its successes with an external audience if your internal staff is on board and engaged.

5. Provide remote and hybrid work arrangements

People with disabilities were battling for flexible employment options even before the pandemic. In conventional professional environments, people with disabilities frequently experience pressure to downplay or conceal their condition. There is more comfort at home, where you don’t have to make any adjustments.

Additionally, remote workplaces reduce difficulties associated with traditional office environments (better assistive technology setups, lack of requirement to figure out frequently confusing transportation options, etc.).


While there are many ways to make workplaces more inclusive for people with disabilities, here are just a few that can make a big difference.

One way to make workplaces more inclusive is by ensuring that the physical space is accessible. It means making sure there are no barriers to entry, such as stairs without an elevator or narrow doorways. It also means providing adequate signage and lighting so that people with visual impairments can navigate the space safely.

Another way to make workplaces more inclusive is by providing reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. It could include flexible work hours or providing assistive technology in the workplace.

Finally, it’s important to create a culture of inclusion in the workplace by educating all employees about disability rights and fostering an environment of respect for all. By taking these steps, workplaces can become more inclusive and welcoming for everyone.

Vikrant Shetty

May 19, 2023

11:52 am

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