It’s important to make everyone feel equal in a workplace, no matter their gender, skin color, ethnicity, religion or disabilities.

William Seaton, business development manager at the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services, wrote an article for the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities.

In the article that Seaton wrote, he discussed the importance of an inclusive workplace and hiring people who have disabilities.

According to the Virginia Business Leadership Network, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed over 22 years ago.  However, surveys show that some employers are still unsure when it comes to hiring individuals with disabilities.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 12.5 percent in April – compared to 7.6 percent of people without disabilities.

Workplaces are changing and shaping to fit today’s world and the people who live in it.  In a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management in April, 61 percent of human resource professionals who responded to the survey state that their organizations include disabilities in diversity and inclusion plans.

Companies realize how important it is to create an inclusive environment, not just for people with disabilities, but for all of their staff.  A positive workplace that includes diversity will push employees to their potential.

According to Seaton, an inclusive environment reduces absenteeism, turnover rates and will attract desirable and diverse “potential” employees.

But Seaton points out that it is important to communicate with everyone correctly. In order for communication to be successful, offer written communication in alternative formats, include Equal Employment Opportunity statements in job notices/advertisements and create a focus group that works with employees who have disabilities.

What do you think? Will inclusive workplaces continue to make an impact on the employers AND the employees? Do you think it is important for every company to reshape their policies so they include disabilities in diversity and inclusion plans?

To read Seaton’s full article, visit the Virginia Business Leadership Network’s website here.

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