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Making It Work

By Viable Created on Wed Nov 9, 2016
Building a workforce that is diverse and inclusive can provide a competitive advantage to employers in addressing their labour challenges. However, this strategy will only be effective if the employer has strategies and tools they need to be competitively productive.

Enter Accommodation.

Effective accommodation is a powerful motivator. Persons with disabilities who are satisfied with their workplace accommodations typically demonstrate improved loyalty and increased productivity. Accommodation is an investment into your company’s continued growth and success. Turnover is reduced and your company gets a fresh perspective on everyday practices.

What is Accommodation?

A workplace accommodation is an adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way a job is done so that an employee can perform the essential functions and be competitively productive.

Accommodations are common in the workplace and can include:
  • flexible work hours
  • assistive technology
  • modified equipment
Employers Need to Consider the Business Case for Accommodation

When you have a solid understanding of accommodation methods you can broaden your search for qualified talent, and better retain current employees. Some employers think that accommodation is costly. Truth is that accommodations can be made at little to no cost and on average do not exceed $500.00.

Accommodation Strategies

1. Have open discussions to communicate the benefits of disclosure. This means that employees should feel comfortable to make a request for accommodation at any point during their employment. It is imperative that all employees are educated on the procedures of disclosing and are encouraged to disclose in order to be properly accommodated.

2. If you are having trouble determining the appropriate accommodation to provide for an employee with a disability, ask the employee for their ideas. Often, persons with disabilities have developed their own ways of doing things efficiently. Workplace accommodations vary and what works for one person may not work for everyone.

3. Do not single out the employee requesting the accommodation. Accommodations should also be implemented in such a way as to not showcase the employee, particularly in situations where an employee has not disclosed their condition to co-workers. This may not always be manageable, as some disabilities are more visible than others.

4. Every scenario is unique. There are ways to ensure that the accommodations are implemented so they don’t interfere with co-workers or customers.

5. Monitor staff for changes in behaviour and make professional notes of the changes. Be available and prepared to discuss changes with the employee, if deemed necessary. Be proactive in open discussion with the employee on any issues that may be affecting their performance and suggest possible accommodations that may help alleviate pressure and improve performance.

Employers with a solid understanding of accommodation methods not only are able to broaden their search for qualified talent but can also experience the benefits accommodation provides in retention efforts for current employees. Studies have also shown that effective accommodation is a powerful motivator employees who are satisfied with their workplace accommodation typically become loyal and highly productive employees. Seen in this light, an investment in accommodation is an investment in your company’s continued growth and success.