October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) — a month that celebrates the lives and contributions of American workers with disabilities. Spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the campaign takes place in local, state, and national organizations across the country.
Each year, a different theme is chosen to highlight the assets of disabled workers and bring awareness to the issues of accessibility and integration that they often face in today’s workplaces. This year’s theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now.”
5 Ways Your Organization Can Support Disability Employment Awareness Month
There are myriad disability awareness month activities in which your business or organization can participate — not just during October’s NDEAM celebrations, but year-round.
To get you started, here are five powerful yet simple ways to get involved.
- Get the Word Out
The simplest way to show your support for the spirit of NDEAM is to publish articles that spark awareness in your employee newsletter, internal website, or through social media. Articles can focus on your organization’s commitment to inclusion or highlight the valued contributions of employees with disabilities that are currently employed by your company.
You can also place NDEAM posters in and around your building; feature your NDEAM activities on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn; and issue press releases surrounding your NDEAM involvement.
- Focus on Training and Education
It all starts at the top, and supervisor training is the perfect way to begin fostering inclusion and promoting accessibility throughout your organization. Supervisors can review or even re-craft company policies to include protocols for providing reasonable accommodations. Also, they can brainstorm ways to get other employees excited about promoting a beneficial inclusive workplace culture.
Once supervisors are on board, they can educate employees about things like disability etiquette either formally or informally. The “I Can” workplace discussion materials are an excellent springboard for discussion and education — and they’re free!
- Establish Resources
You’ll want to make it easier for managers and employees alike to have access to the resources they need to be aware — and inclusive. NDEAM is a great time to create an Employee Resource Group (ERG) that can match employees with similar needs, interests, to help address their unique needs. Getting started is easy with the free toolkit from the Employee Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion.
- Review Your Company’s Policies
Is your organization already on board with inclusion and awareness? Do you offer reasonable accommodations and have written inclusion policies at all levels of your company? If not, it’s time to show your commitment at all levels by providing written policies that facilitate an environment that offers inclusion for all. The Employee Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion is a great place to learn how to start building a bridge toward workplace inclusion.
- Participate in Disability Mentoring Day
Finally, promoting and participating in a Disability Mentoring Day allows critical career development for people with disabilities by providing a platform through which businesses can offer shadowing, hands-on programs, and continued mentoring.
Let’s All Get the Right Talent, Right Now
A diverse workforce that provides inclusion and accessibility to employees of all abilities is an asset to any business. Differing abilities mean different perspectives, new ideas, and a more robust workforce.
Organizations that practice inclusivity not only achieve greater cooperation and a more cohesive corporate culture, but they gain public relations benefits that go hand-in-hand with adopting inclusive practices.
If your business is ready to reap the benefits of a fully integrated, inclusive workforce can bring, use one — or more — of our NDEAM suggestions to get started. You can also head over to the National Disability Employment Awareness website and explore the array of pre-planned disability awareness month activities.
Finally, if you’re interested in working with a company that supports efforts such as NDEAM, check us out. We’re recruiting top-performing talent of all abilities right now! See how you can advance your career alongside our passionate, inclusive workforce.