Here at HireAbility Spokane, we’re used to having some uncomfortable conversations. People don’t always want to share their concerns and experiences, but we try to be a place where employers and employees can learn from each other.
One topic that is particularly tough to talk about is why employers don’t want to hire employees with disabilities. Today, we want to share some of what we’ve heard from employers and how those misconceptions can be adjusted.
The first thing that comes up for employers is some level of fear. That may be fear that someone with a disability can’t do the job, fear of offending your employee, or fear that your team won’t respond well to a new employee with a disability.
These fears often are based on some myths about what it means to work with someone with a disability. If you’re afraid you or your team will offend someone, we’re here to help train you and your team to adapt and understand how best to communicate across the board. Oftentimes, you just need to ask for clarification and be open to what someone with a disability recommends.
When it comes to a fear that someone with a disability can’t do that job, think through some of the key skills required for the job. Often, someone with a disability will have plenty of work experience for you to look at, and you’ll be able to learn in the interview process if the potential employee fits what you need.
A Complicated Process
Another thing we’ll hear from employers is that they’re nervous about learning a whole new process for working with someone who has a disability. There could be more paperwork or new ways of training involved.
This is an area that we really focus on. When you partner with HireAbility Spokane, we help you through the process. We’re your guide so that you don’t have to worry about doing it on your own, and your employee will have someone from our team to help coach them as well.
That includes understanding how to give feedback or enact discipline with an employee with a disability. The general rule of thumb is to utilize the same feedback processes for everyone. It should be an equitable playing field.
Another thing that employers will sometimes admit is that they’re worried about potential awkwardness. Some people tend to feel uncomfortable around people they don’t think they know how to interact with.
The key to overcoming awkwardness is exposure. If you’re nervous about public speaking, you practice. If you’re worried about being awkward around someone with a disability, just start! That experience is the only way to get to a place where you start to feel more connected and comfortable with all people.
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