The mission of our team at Vocational Solutions of Henderson County is to support adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities in living as independently as possible. A large part of our work focuses on preparing these individuals to enter the workforce and supporting them in their employment. This involves not only working with individual job seekers but also with employers.
If you are an employer, we encourage you to keep reading to learn how to improve your job training programs for adults with disabilities. We’ll go over a few common mistakes to avoid when onboarding disabled individuals.
- Mistake #1: Assuming your employees are comfortable asking for help. – A common piece of etiquette advice about interacting with people with disabilities says to not assume the person needs help. This is reasonable advice for everyday interactions, but it doesn’t quite apply in the workplace. Surveys have shown that over 50% of disabled employees don’t feel comfortable openly discussing their condition with a direct supervisor, which can lead to bad outcomes for job training and workplace success. We encourage you and the rest of your leadership team to learn how to identify employees in need of support and to foster a collaborative environment of disability management.
- Mistake #2: Treating your disabled employees like burdens. – When preparing to onboard an employee with a disability, make sure to avoid any implication that the new worker or their accommodations are burdensome. The person will pick up on the negative attitude, which will likely sour your working relationship. Remember that disability accommodations don’t have to be expensive, and do your best to make your new employee feel welcome and supported.
- Mistake #3: Not directing disabled employees to appropriate resources. – During job training, make sure to introduce any employees with disabilities to the HR manager and explain that this person is the one to talk to about accommodations, leave, and other matters related to their condition. The HR team has more experience in managing these kinds of cases and will be better able to help the employee find the solutions they need when their disability creates problems.