Why National Disability Employment Awareness Month Should Be Every Month
Last month, businesses across the nation exhibited their commitment to tackling disability employment issues in support of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). As November rolls around, those elevator signs announcing NDEAM will find their way to the trash can.
My hope is that companies will remind their employees that we should be including persons with a disability in our workforce every month of the year. We should be fostering this spirit of inclusion every single day, whether or not we have a marketing campaign to accompany it.
Leading companies are making strides towards successfully including disabled persons, yet the disability employment rate remains steady at 29%*. The number one reason for this? A lack of understanding. According to Accenture’s report The Disability Inclusion Advantage, companies “haven’t leveraged the talents of persons with disabilities” due to a lack an understanding of the scope of talent available and the potential benefits, and misconceptions of the cost versus the ROI of disability inclusion.
If companies can become aware of the potential gains of disability inclusion and work towards building programs to include these individuals, we can launch these people into the workforce faster, where they can thrive and contribute.
I am proud to be a co-founder of a business that is committed to disability inclusion 365 days a year. Here are some ways your company, too, can continue to foster this spirit of inclusion beyond the month of October.
Actively hire and promote persons with a disability. Companies should encourage, engage, and promote persons with disabilities, making sure these people are properly represented in their workplace.
Assist your employees by providing them access to accessibility tools and support programming. Furthermore, educate your non-disabled employees so they can be more supportive to those who need extra accommodations. Work to foster a community of understanding and acceptance.
Document your commitment to fostering a diverse workforce. What better way to educate other companies on diversity programming than by showing yours off? Don’t feel nervous about bragging. Your commitment can and will inspire other companies to participate.
Our under-represented communities deserve to be noticed all days of the year. The future of work is inclusive, are you?