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How to Support Employees with Disabilities in the Workplace

How to Support Employees with Disabilities in the Workplace

There are instances when we work with physically challenged people but fail to treat them equally. Find out how to support employees with disabilities in the workplace, from the points mentioned in the following article.
Aparna Jadhav
I am sure, all of us have worked or studied with individuals who have a disability. If you think that the average percentage of hiring employees who have a disability or special needs is low, you are sadly mistaken. According to the statistics, it is found that any American company hires about 15% of employees with disabilities, which are categorized in two groups. The first group includes the employees who identify themselves as differently abled because of a strong physical disability. Whereas the second group consists of those employees who are uncomfortable with disclosing their disability, even though they might have one.

However, both these groups are an important part of the company's workforce because of their capabilities, intelligence and productivity. However, many a time, they might face some discrimination from the other employees with respect to competition and speed, which is an extremely sensitive issue in our society. It is for each of us to understand, that we are not superior to any individual with a shortcoming. However, it is only human to provide support to those who have a disability if not help! In the paragraphs mentioned below, you will read about few ways you could support the employees with disabilities at the work, as that is the least we could do.

Supporting Employees with Disabilities at Work

Employees with a physical disability have all the required abilities for desk jobs, and thus should be put through the same recruitment process as others. However, there are instances where there is some sort of opposition that is created while recruiting them, which can be considered to be a very sensitive social issue. According to the rights given to the employees with disabilities, they are allowed to access the same training programs and growth opportunities as the rest of the employees, if their performance deserves it. To provide them with equal rights as others, we have mentioned a few points on how you can support employees with disabilities in the workplace. Read on and find out!

Don't Discriminate
The first rule for providing the required support to any coworker or employee with disabilities is to treat him/her just like any other normal individual. It is very important to speak to them in an ordinary tone, not stare at them, and socialize with them the same way you would with other employees. Even if you are giving them slightly more attention, a sober reaction to their presence is important, so that they do not feel like an outcast. Segregating them in training programs and while working is also not advised, as this gesture will only make them realize they are not welcome in the society. Treating them equally will boost their confidence and help them succeed in their work.

Provide Opportunities
A number of companies have annual appraisals and promotions depending on the performance of each employee. Employees with disabilities too are eligible for this promotion and should be granted all the necessary perks by evaluating their performance. Discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace could be considered as a legal crime. Therefore, managements should not discriminate against them by contemplating their physical conditions, instead judge them on the basis of their hard work, experience and skills. They should be provided with equal growth and training opportunities in the fields they want to choose.

Support While Training
Employees with disabilities need special attention and guidance and thus training them could take some patience. While training them for certain services that they are expected to provide, it is important to keep in mind that they could get slow. Therefore, being patient with them, explaining things repetitively and not getting aggressive could be supportive of you as an employer or trainer. Working in a normal environment is already a challenge for them, thus making the workplace a comfortable one could prove to be helpful on your part.

Be a Mentor and Guide
Even though we think it is easy to be normal around employees with disabilities, you cannot ignore their disability. This leads to making these individuals feel awkward, and thus they tend to become loners and appreciate being left alone. However, this is a very unhealthy practice as they require more attention, care, and support than other employees. Building a comfort zone around them, inquiring about their needs, showing concern and affection, and sharing your meals, would surely make them feel one of you. Being a guide and mentor to them and solving their problems, will help them trust you and not give them a feeling of loneliness.

These tips about supporting employees with disability in the workplace, would surely help you be a better person around these people and treat such employees equally. On a more informal note, I would like to say that the only reason we are lucky is, so that we could help the people who aren't. So, make the most of your abilities to support someone in need.