Accessible and inclusive workplaces

There’s a lot of talk about inclusive workplaces and a diverse workforce, but a policy isn’t enough. The “how-to” is the tricky part. The Australian Human Rights Commission has produced a plain language guide to help employers recruit and include people with disability. The guide is titled IncludeAbility and is 10 pages (in PDF) and therefore sticks to the basics.

Graphic from the cover of accessible and inclusive workplaces called include ability.

People with disability have the right to work on an equal basis with others, and in a work environment that is ‘open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities’.

The guide covers some old ground including the ageing 7 Principles of Universal Design and the Lendlease Design for Dignity Guidelines. And of course existing standards for the built environment. In terms of technology, readers are directed to the WACG guide. Assistive technology and Employment Fund Assistance also get a mention. Case studies highlight some of the issues many people with disability face when getting work and while at work.

Workplace attitudes are the barriers you can’t see and are therefore the most difficult to overcome. There’s a list of questions employers can ask themselves that mostly relate to organisational policies and staff training. The Human Rights Commission offers staff training in capital cities.

Workplace technology

At an individual level, assistive technology bridges many of the gaps between being able and dis-abled. However, company websites should be accessible for staff as well as customers. Similarly, all key documents should offer accessible formats for staff and customers. the South Australian Government toolkit is referenced with more information on this topic.

Creating an accessible and inclusive workplace is available online where there are links to a PDF version and a Word version. The IncludeAbility website is has additional resources for people with disability and Frequently Asked Questions.

Editor’s comment: This document appears to be a gathering of existing information that’s been around for a while. It would be interesting to see what a co-designed guide would look like. That is, what do employers want to see in a guide and how do they want it presented.? A guide is a product so it can be universally designed too.