With the Government recent release of the National Disability Strategy, it has never been more pertinent for businesses to develop inclusivity strategies for disabled employees.
Many employers are utilising services such as Disability Awareness Training for Managers to enable them with skills and knowledge to recognise where support is needed, specifically when the employee has not disclosed a hidden disability.
Many people have been through education and early employment without knowing they have a neurodiverse condition; additionally, employees may excel well in a particular position and receive a promotion. This can be a daunting prospect for someone with a neurodiverse condition, causing anxiety and stress if the promotion requires entirely different work duties, such as reporting, managing staff and attending regular meetings.
How do you start support?
One of the vital support strategies for such situations is a Workplace Needs Assessment.
These assessments are tailored to both the employee’s disability and working role. Assessments are available for any disability from physical, Neurodiverse, Hearing Impaired or Visually Impaired. The assessment is delivered to enable an individual with solutions for reasonable adjustments in work, to help them in their daily working duties. These can be basic adjustments to a working environment, such as seating away from a window which may cause distractions if the employee has ADHD, or noise-cancelling headsets to reduce environmental noise.
If further support solutions are required, this may include assistive technology such as hearing aid support technology to assist with meetings and or the use of telephones. Literacy support software such as text to speech, to support reading, or speech to text to provide dictation. With these solutions, assistive technology training may be recommended to ensure the technology’s correct use and guarantee the best enabling support is achieved.
Along with technology solutions, on the job coping strategy sessions may be recommended. These help the individual with specific job duties and reduce anxiety by introducing coping strategies and preparation tools. If organisation software such as mind mapping is recommended, it can be utilised for project planning, report writing and general day to day workload preparation. Co-Coaching may be a great solution with the employee’s permission, introducing all the strategies mentioned earlier but delivering these solutions with the line manager, who then learns about the support needed for the employee and how they can add additional support and understanding when assigning work to the individual.
This solution can often avoid conflict and misunderstanding of the work capabilities of the employee but also can strengthen the working relationships, reducing stresses for both the manager and employee may have encountered otherwise.
Another solution to aid employees whose news of being disabled has emotionally impacted them is the Disability Impact Awareness Training, available for people who have a hidden disability and have lived without knowing this for many years. This helps them come to terms with having a disability and how it will impact their everyday life and work and also helps to ingrain trust in the recommended adjustments and support solutions offered.
Where can I get this support?
ToHealth Ltd, a division of Pam Group, are a complete end to end solution provider. As mentioned above, we can deliver workplace needs assessments, provide compatible assistive technology and training along with coping strategy and disability awareness training solutions.
Who is eligible, and what funding is available?
Funding may be available from the Government Access to Work scheme.
The employee must apply for this funding, and the employer will be advised once an application is made so they can make reasonable adjustments. Contributions may be applicable. You must have a disability or mental illness defined as a disability under the Equality Act 20210. Any person above 16 years of age in a paid job or about to start or return to work, apprentices and Kickstarter scheme are eligible.
Further information on employer contribution is available on the Access to Work Government website
ToHealth offers a managed service to support employees and employers through this administration process.