In a hyper-connected and multi-cultural society, it is key organisations foster an environment where the inclusion of employees with disabilities is evident across all levels, in all business activity and in the ways their employees collaborate with one another, customers and partners. After all, with people with disabilities making up 20 percent of the UK workforce, employers are missing out on a huge amount of talent if they are not able to do that. Contributor Sarah Kaiser, Diversity & Inclusion Lead, EMEIA – Fujitsu.
We are seeing huge advances in assistive technology, which can enable more people with disabilities to overcome the barriers they once faced in the workplace and contribute fully. For example, at Fujitsu, all our graduate intake this year will be offered the BuddyConnect app, which we have designed to help people with autism to plan and manage the issues their autism may present in the workplace, so they feel more welcome from the start.
As some employers struggle to keep up with these developments, the news that the Government plans to introduce a Tech Fund to provide financial support for assistive technology to ensure someone’s disability or health condition does not hold them back at work is very much welcomed.
Most disabled people will acquire their disability during their working lives, so organisations need to be equipped to retain employees who may become disabled and support them to achieve their full potential. Take our Disability & Adjustment Passport as a prime example of this. It makes career progression easier for employees with disabilities, by ensuring new managers are informed of any required adjustments from the outset without the need to repeat potentially difficult conversations.
By creating an environment where employees feel comfortable to be completely themselves and tell employers if they have a disability, organisations can put in place the right adjustments to properly enable them to do their work, whilst providing a working environment that emphasises support.