Disability Inclusion Practices in Workplace for Employee Engagement

by Kylee Stone Jun 11,2024

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Individuals with disabilities are often overlooked at their workplace and may not feel well supported. As a result, organizations often miss out on talented employees and fail to leverage their full potential for the benefit of all the stakeholders involved. An effective solution here can be through disability inclusion practices and policies.

Driving positive engagement through an inclusive workplace can enhance organizational performance and outputs. Further, inclusive workplace practices and policies make all employees feel well-supported and included. In fact, statistics reveal that employee engagement can help workplaces increase productivity and become 21% more profitable.

This blog provides a detailed overview of cultivating positive disability inclusion in employee engagement in the workplace through inclusive practices and policies.

How Does Inclusion Affect Employee Engagement?

Simple measures to recognize the efforts of employees can go a long way toward making them feel valued. For employees with disabilities, these practices can make a big difference in their professional and personal lives.

Keep reading to understand the impact of disability inclusion on employee engagement:

1. Feeling Valued and Supported

Practices like providing diversity and inclusion training, establishing employee resource groups, regularly reviewing policies with an inclusive lens, etc., can ensure that each employee has access to adequate resources and support. This will also increase their engagement level consequently.

Workplaces can measure inclusion levels regularly to value and support employees. One way to do this is by establishing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committees to ensure all employees participate in the decision-making process and development opportunities within the organization. In fact, the Gartner survey reveals that setting goals and tracking DEI metrics was one of the two top priorities for organizations globally in 2021.

2. Promoting Trust and Transparency

Establishing trust requires open communication about the needs of people with disabilities and a clear process for making accommodations. An environment of open communication and trust is encouraged when employees feel comfortable sharing their needs, knowing that their employer will listen to them.

Employees with disabilities can be encouraged to interact more freely with their coworkers through open and transparent support systems. They should also be able to suggest necessary changes and modifications to existing processes and best practices.

Additionally, employee engagement is strongly impacted by trust in the workplace. Employees who have faith in the leadership display higher levels of job satisfaction and engagement.

Also Read: Crucial Role and Importance of DEI in Professional Services Firms

How Do You Promote Disability Inclusion in The Workplace?

An inclusive workspace involves diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

  • Diversity means building a workspace with a diverse workforce from different geographies, cultures, genders, ethnicities, and more.
  • Equity involves creating a consistent and systemic plan for all employees, offering equal opportunities for career advancement and professional development.
  • Inclusion ensures all employees feel well-supported while working in a professional environment.
  • Accessibility ensures the designing of facilities, programs, and services that can be used by all employees fully and independently.

Mentioned below are some more measures that can be taken to promote disability inclusion in the workspace:

1. Promoting Awareness and Education

To promote an inclusive atmosphere, it is crucial to debunk misconceptions and prejudices regarding cognitive and physical impairments. Training courses on the value of varied viewpoints, proper communication techniques, and disability etiquette can go a long way in encouraging acceptance, openness, transparency, and understanding in the workplace.

2. Encouraging Disclosure

As of 2022, 12% of the US population identifies as having a disability, and the ratio of employment for people with disability is gradually increasing. Despite this, people with disabilities still hesitate to report their disabilities publicly due to fear of judgment and discrimination.

Therefore, encouraging disclosure at the workplace is important to make employees feel safe and valued. Organizations can implement tactics like anonymous surveys and open communication channels to encourage employees to communicate their demands without fear of negative consequences.

Open communication channels guarantee that workers feel heard and respected, while anonymous surveys can help collect data on the kinds of disabilities prevalent in the workforce and the adjustments needed.

Furthermore, fostering a workplace environment of respect and confidentiality helps convince employees that their disclosures should be treated with sensitivity.

3. Providing Accessibility Accommodations

Regular modifications to workplace settings, administrative processes, and technologies can also contribute to helping employees with disabilities. This ensures they can fulfill their professional roles with more efficiency and convenience.

These modifications, which can take many different forms based on the needs of the individual, are essential to promote an inclusive and work-friendly workplace.

Assistive technology, including screen readers or speech-to-text software, flexible work schedules that provide remote or variable work hours, and adjusted workloads to accommodate weariness or medical appointments, are a few examples of reasonable accommodations.

By making these accommodations, companies can ensure that workers with disabilities have the resources and assistance they require to succeed, which raises worker satisfaction and output.

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Leadership and Visibility

Now that we have discussed why inclusion is important for people with disabilities, it is also crucial to consider what steps people at the leadership level can take to ensure all employees feel valued and supported.

1. Importance of Leadership Commitment to Disability Inclusion

If leaders are more vocal about embracing and promoting diversity, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility, the organization can function as a more inclusive and accepting workplace.

The leaders must position themselves as supporters of inclusivity. For that, they can adopt measures like funding accessibility enhancements, taking part in disability inclusion campaigns, and being transparent about the value of assisting staff members with disabilities.

In addition, the leadership team’s commitment to inclusivity can take many different forms. It can be achieved through inclusive procedures and policies, continuous education on disability awareness, and the establishment of quantifiable targets for disability inclusion.

Leaders who make these initiatives a top priority convey to staff members at all levels that the company values disability inclusion, which might encourage them to do the same.

Also Read: How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace?

2. Leaders as Role Models

Leaders who are transparent about their own or their family members’ struggles with disabilities can also help other employees with disabilities feel empowered and valued.

These role models encourage other workers and normalize the discussion around disabilities by offering concrete examples of achievement and resiliency. By sharing their personal stories, these leaders may eliminate stigmas and promote a more welcoming and inclusive workplace environment.

Employees may feel more comfortable sharing their difficulties and asking for the assistance they require if this information is made visible.

3. Highlighting Success Stories of Employees With Disabilities

Leaders can also proactively share and celebrate the success stories of employees with disabilities. These success stories can be shared during organization-wide events and meetings or on social media platforms.

This will also allow employees with disabilities to further highlight their successes and happiness with their close friends and family. That is why highlighting the success stories of employees with disabilities serves to reaffirm the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.


It is important to highlight that creating inclusive workforces has another benefit. It significantly contributes towards creating opportunities for people coming from marginalized communities.

Organizations should adopt inclusive practices to fulfill legal requirements and obligations and ensure that employees with disabilities feel appreciated and supported, cultivating a transparent and trusting culture. Moreover, leadership commitment and the presence of prominent role models reinforce the significance of disability inclusion, cultivating an inclusive and happy work environment for all.

Accepting disability inclusion is advantageous from a strategic and moral standpoint, too. It ensures all employees have an opportunity to utilize their full potential and contribute positively towards the growth of the organization. Additionally, it also enhances employee engagement and innovation. With inclusive practices, organizations can pave the way for a more bright and prosperous future for people with disabilities.

If you also want to employ inclusive best practices at your organization, reach out to Engagedly. They can help you enhance your employee experience and develop a high-performance culture.

Employee Career Development

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How do you promote disability inclusion in the workplace?

Some of the requirements of an inclusive workplace include:

  • Diverse and inclusive hiring practices
  • Diversity and inclusion training
  • Accessible systems, tools, and technologies
  • Employee Resource Groups
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Committee

2. What are the benefits of an inclusive workplace?

Some of the benefits of an inclusive workplace are:

  • High employee engagement and productivity
  • Compliance with legal requirements
  • Enhanced organizational performance
  • Equal growth and learning opportunities for all employees
  • Highly motivated employees

3. What is disability inclusion? 

Disability inclusion ensures individuals with disabilities have equal representation and opportunities as their peers without disabilities. The objective of inclusion is to embrace individuals irrespective of abilities, gender, ethnicity, race, or other needs.

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Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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