Facilitating Growth in Corporate Culture

Corporate culture describes and governs the ways a company's owners and employees think, feel and act. Effective Strategy Forum participants shared the following best practices on how they evolved their company’s corporate culture to embrace the hiring of persons with disabilities.

  • Gain company-wide support for hiring persons with disabilities

    • Make hiring persons with disabilities non-negotiable. These individuals have skills and experience to offer the organization and excluding them in recruitment practices means excluding a potentially great employee.

    • Expose staff to persons with disabilities or have an employer in your industry that is successful at employing persons with disabilities come and speak to your organization. This first-hand exposure serves to reduce the stereotypes and fears associated with hiring persons with disabilities.

    • Equip your staff with the appropriate sensitivity training. By beginning to have the disability conversation with staff and having experts on the topic answer questions and provide guidance, employees will be prepared to have interactions with new employees who have disabilities.

    • Hiring persons with disabilities is not a charity case.  It is often thought that employers who employ persons with disabilities are doing them a favour.  Steve Hanamura stresses that it is not about hiring a person because you feel sorry for them; rather, it is about hiring the right person for the job.

  • Get buy-in from all levels of the business

    • Build diversity and inclusion into your goals, expectations, and business plans.  Create committees that can take it further than a thought or good idea that ends up stalled at an executive level.

    • Find a champion or pioneer that will do the work to build the momentum of an inclusive workforce.  This is usually a senior level employee or manager that is passionate about an inclusive workforce and can make this passion infectious.

  • Establish a Mentorship Program

    • This helps new employees with disabilities to integrate comfortably and normalizes the interaction between the two parties.  Mentorship is a useful tool in many new hire situations as it allows for a key point of contact when any difficulties arise.  A new employee with a disability benefits from this mentor as they are able to rely on one person for guidance and this mentor is able to bridge or facilitate communication between the general staff and the new employee with a disability.

  • Enlist Service Providers to help ease co-worker anxiety when working alongside persons with disabilities. Service Providers are able to provide tailored disability awareness and cultural sensitivity seminars for coworkers and staff.

  • Change customer’s attitudes towards persons with disabilities and increase tolerance of barriers in the workplace by implementing job carving techniques* that fully utilize each employee’s skills effectively.

*Job Carving is way to modify or restructure existing jobs or bring together a combination of job tasks that fill the work needs of an employer while capitalizing on the skills and strengths of workers with disabilities. (Source –When Existing Jobs Don't Fit: A Guide to Job Creation - Institute Brief 17. Institute for Community Inclusion. Colleen Condon, 2004.