Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Ryan Compton, Director of Centre for Resolution, and is the final instalment in the four part series on the process of employing someone with a disability. (The previous three articles can be found here, here and here).
Ryan writes: "Wow we are finally here in the last part of the series. I have really enjoyed doing these blogs and hopefully you have enjoyed reading them. So far we have covered what is a disability, legislation including the Equality Act 2010, what is a reasonable adjustment, how to recruit disabled people and how we employ them.
In this blog post, we are going to look at retaining employees with disabilities and ways in which we can support them whilst in the workplace.
Internal or external support for employees with disabilities
Some organisations are already considering alternative ways to support their employees. This could be for example counselling services, whether it is in-house or signposting to external providers, generic workplace coaching or sourcing the best technology to ensure our employees are at their maximum productivity. Some organisations stop at this level of support and don’t strive to do more.
I have always wondered why?
If we need to upgrade our computers to ensure maximum performance it is not something that we would hesitate to do. However when it comes to engaging with specialists that understand the world of disability, some organisations don’t see the benefits of utilizing this type of support. More often than not it is not even something they have considered. Take two examples of specialist mediation and specialist coaching. If you have an employee who has a dispute in the workplace around their disability, then an expert with a conflict resolution and disability background would be best placed to find resolution. Similarly with specialist coaching, if organisations were to use generic workplace coaching for their disabled employees they may not get the results they wanted. By using a specialist disability coach the employee would be able to explore their limitations rather than focusing on explaining their disability.
An expert in disability would be aware of the solutions and the potential barriers and would also have a natural empathy for those they support, as it is the area that they work in. Likewise with internal disputes some firms may use an internal resource or reach out to an external provider. If you are going to invest in using a resource in reaching out to a provider to resolve internal conflicts or support with better communication, why not reach out to a specialist who understands disability within the mediation field?
Reviews are an ongoing process for all employees. Maybe with your colleagues who have disabilities having reviews more often would be beneficial for all. Colleagues with disabilities would be able to talk about issues they may be facing in regard to their disability whilst at work, and this would also provide the colleague with a natural opportunity to discuss their feelings. Some disabled people have a lot of pride and do not wish to ask for support whilst on the other hand some disabled people do not wish to raise that there is an issue with their work in regard to disability, as they fear they will lose their job.
The fact that you and your employee are having regular reviews will help to build trust and rapport and ultimately a stronger relationship going forward. For example if the employee with a disability is struggling to carry out their full job role, rather than them giving up and thinking oh I can’t do this anymore, they may actually come to you for your support. This would then in turn mean the employee would keep their job because they have the support to enable them.
The need for on-going training
My final point in this blog is on-going disability awareness training. Often organisations think we’ve done it once we don’t need it again, but actually this is very far from the truth. On-going disability awareness training is vital to ensure employees are supported. In the disability sector there are usually lots of changes to legislation, new ideas for reasonable adjustments or changes to terminology that usually organisations miss. However this is the very reason that we suggest organisations have ongoing disability awareness training.
So that about wraps it up for our final blog. We really do hope you have enjoyed them. If you have any questions regarding any of the information or you need support with a colleague/s who has disabilities please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We have also written another blog about workplace discrimination and disability awareness training; if you would like to read more click here."
Thank you Ryan for this informative series of articles! If you have any comments or thoughts on how we could, as a profession, ensure we attract and retain talented employees with disabilities, please get in touch.