An employee sits at her computer wearing a telephone headset as a colleague stands, assisting her at the computer.
Guide

Employer toolkit: A how-to guide on disability inclusion for managers

Tips for recruiting, hiring and managing employees with disabilities

The Employer Toolkit

Read the rest of the series.

Disability inclusion in the workplace not only boosts business outcomes — it’s the right thing to do. Here’s the business case for inclusion and why it matters for your workforce.

Active and informed allies in the workplace are crucial to creating an inclusive and respectful culture for all. Learn the ways you can be an ally for disability inclusion in the workplace.

Part 3: Disability inclusion for managers

Managers are often at the forefront of change and, as leaders, can be the guiding force around disability inclusion. In part three of our employer toolkit, we provide information managers to need to know to help diversify their workforce and drive success among their team. Want to learn more? Read part one and part two of this series, too.

A deafblind person works with a colleague on American Sign Language interpretation.

Disability inclusion in hiring and recruitment

Before diving in, take some time to assess how well you’re set up by looking at the criteria for the DEI 100, a great source of information and learning. 

Posting job descriptions

Understanding disclosure and accommodations 

Employers should know that while someone may be visually impaired, that person is likely very capable of doing a job and may only need some very minor – and reasonable – accommodations to perform a job’s duties.

– Greg L.

During the interviewing process

You’ve hired a blind or visually impaired person

Preparing for your new employee’s start date

New employee orientation and integration

Employers should have a basic understanding of the adaptive tools that make a job fully accessible. They should also collaborate with the employee who is visually impaired to ensure the employee’s onboarding has felt smooth.

– Timothy V.

Setting up accommodations

A group of people walking down a hallway.

Once the new hire has settled in

Technology

Technology empowers people who are blind or visually impaired to access information and succeed in the workplace. Many workplace softwares and applications are accessible to employees who are B/VI, meaning that these employees can use screen reader technology or screen magnification to complete tasks within those platforms. However, there are other websites, softwares and applications that are not accessible, meaning that they simply don’t work or don’t work well with access technology.

It’s important to evaluate the technology used at your company and find out just how accessible it is or is not. You may decide to make changes as needed to ensure accessibility and equity for everyone. Some platforms may have accessibility issues from the start, or they might start out working quite well with assistive technology, but then experience incompatibility issues after an upgrade. Encourage IT departments to thoroughly test potential new applications to be sure that they continue to be accessible down the road for the employee who is blind. Consider including the blind employee in the testing process.

Making accessible formats or accessible documents is important, which is why this guide encourages you to provide materials to be discussed at a meeting in advance via email. Ask your employees what formats work best.

Employee feedback

Feedback and employee reviews should be conducted the same way they would be with any employee – there are no special type of conversations needed. Remember, it is a best practice to share written documents in advance.

Don’t be afraid to compliment or critique blind or visually impaired persons for their job performance as you would any other member of your team. Some people – including you! – may be hesitant to give honest and critical feedback to someone with a disability. This can actually undermine their ability to learn, grow, and improve their performance and build their career. 

If your employee with visual impairment is performing poorly, it is important to address that issue and give them the opportunity to improve – again just as you would for anyone else on your team. If you have concerns that their performance issues are directly related to their visual impairment, engage the employee in a conversation about whether or not they might require additional accommodations to get the job done. If an employee raises concerns about certain aspects of the job being inaccessible, consider job carving where necessary and possible. 

Career development

Support career opportunities for the good of both the person and your company/team by:

Promotions, changing roles and terminations


About this guide

Career Launch @ Perkins logo

Career Launch @ Perkins is an innovative job training program and career services program helping young adults who are blind or visually impaired land career-track jobs. 

We developed this guide in cooperation with our supporters at Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation as a resource for our program’s diverse Employer Partners and organizations committed to equity and inclusion in the workplace.

The best practices in this guide can easily be implemented by individual employees, teams, and managers at large and small organizations alike. Partner with us in order to find trained and qualified candidates for roles in the field of customer success. 


Career Launch

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Get in touch to learn more about becoming a Career Launch employer partner.

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