Among the best ways to relieve executive and manager anxiety is to show how workers with disabilities can produce a return on investment, says John Sullivan, professor of human resources at San Francisco State University and a global HR adviser in San Francisco.
Sullivan explains that HR needs to demonstrate how employees with disabilities can help build the company’s brand, often stay longer and, as proven by multiple studies, are more productive.
Particular attention needs to be paid to hiring employees with disabilities for remote work; without company policies, training or HR guidance, managers don’t know how to interact with them, causing some to feel isolated, not part of the team and disengaged.
Managers must stay in touch by scheduling weekly meetings, asking employees what additional tools they may need to perform their job and ensuring that more than one IT employee is familiar with the technology being used, says Foss. Help-desk calls from workers with disabilities also need to be assigned a higher priority to avoid their “office” being down for the day.
“If you want to hire more remote disabled people, make sure managers understand the benefits that apply to them,” says Sullivan. “Unless you show them the business case, they’ll do very little.”
If managers are resisting and would prefer instead to “watch” new hires instead of supervising them remotely, hire workers with disabilities for project or contract work.
“This way, some managers won’t feel they’re being handcuffed,” says Sullivan, adding that many also believe innovation suffers if remote workers can’t easily share their ideas with co-workers.
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