An employee sits in a cubicle while talking on the phone and looking at a computer screen.

Employer toolkit: Creating an inclusive workplace

A three-part guide for businesses, managers and employees

An estimated 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. have a disability. That’s roughly 61 million Americans and millions more globally. At Perkins, we believe the world is more vibrant when all people are seen, valued and empowered to make their voices heard. Disability inclusion starts everywhere – especially in the workplace.

We developed this three-part series to offer the best practices for disability inclusion in the workplace – from hiring to career development, and everything in between. These actionable steps can be implemented by individual employees, teams and managers at any organization.

While this guide focuses explicitly on blindness and visual impairment, the principles underlying this guide are relevant for all disabilities.

The employer toolkit

Read the rest of the series

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.

From the interview and hiring process, to identifying career development opportunities, this toolkit provides managers the information they need to help their team succeed.

Part 1: Why does disability inclusion matter in the workplace?

For some time, companies have recognized strategic benefits of inclusion, broadly defined, in delivering positive impact and outcomes for the company, and its employees and stakeholders.

The impact of disability inclusion is no different. Research shows that businesses that invest in fostering a diverse workforce – including people across a range of abilities – are more productive and profitable than their counterparts.

These companies do not let disabilities get in the way of hiring talented people and ensuring they can thrive, through the use of inclusive workforce management practices and accessibility technology. 

Five ways inclusion helps organizations perform at their best:

  • Hiring: Companies can tap into a broader and richer talent pool when hiring, helping them find the innovative, talented, and committed people they need. 
  • Engagement: A study by Deloitte showed that millennial employees report themselves to be 23% more likely to be actively engaged when they believe the organization fosters an inclusive culture.
  • Productivity: People perform at their best in a culture of trust, where they can be open and honest, be confident of their contributions, and ask for the help they need. This culture lets people focus fully on the work, and encourages appropriate risk-taking and innovation.
  • Retention: Companies with inclusive cultures and work practices do better at retaining their skilled and trained people over time, even when those employees experience a change in their status.
  • Customers: The more diverse your employee base across all dimensions, the better you can understand wide-ranging customer needs, and meet them. Also, people prefer to buy from companies whose values are aligned with their own.

By the way, many disabilities are invisible. That is, you wouldn’t know the individual had a disability unless they chose to disclose it. Common examples – including chronic pain, diabetes, hearing loss, depression and even certain visual impairments – may not be readily apparent.

About this guide

Perkins developed this guide in cooperation with our supporters at Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation as a resource for employers 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.

Two young adults sitting at a conference table, listening to a speaker.

Employer toolkit: Allyship in the workplace

A female wearing a headset talking at a desk using a keyboard
Tips and facts

Five tips to create a disability-inclusive workplace

Drawing of a laptop on a desk.

Technology goals required for the workplace