Disability Affects Your Whole Workforce
Look around you. Within your office, there could be 10s of people around you. Hundreds of colleagues through the building. Thousands to whom you are connected to online. The fact is, that approximately 16% of those people have a disability.
With 1 in 6 colleagues having a disability… why are we not more aware, accepting and accommodating? Through history, humans have associated disability with evil and with weakness. One would hope that today, in 2018, at our pinnacle with technology, supposed intellect, and communication that we would be more aware and less discriminatory when it comes to people that don’t operate at what many consider to be “100%”.
When speaking at my last corporate event, it was extraordinary how upon opening up to the audience and telling my own story regarding disability, the great number of people who declared invisible disabilities to either myself and/or their colleagues. Several of these professionals had been working at the firm for several years or even decades; during which time they had been afraid to disclose their illness due to fears of discrimination.
When I’m standing in front of 10s or 100s of people, telling them my story re disability (which to many is still taboo): its effects on me professionally and of course physically, mentally and neurologically; the sense of relief amongst many in the audience is clear. They are not alone. Educating and talking openly about disability is a tremendous team-building exercise. It turns out to be a rather unforeseen communication opportunity for many (as disabilities affect people’s family members also – including 6% of children and 45% of those over state pension age). It builds trust, encourages authenticity, and has leaders working together to plan and implement constructive change to support those with a disability in the workplace.
Value and support your team. Reduce the feelings of depression and anxiety felt by many employees affected by disability by reducing team ignorance, and so the shame and isolation felt by so many. You'll even find that you'll improve staff retention and productivity.
Is your company talking about disability? Is it talking about mental health? It should be.
International Public Speaker