Recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month At Work With These 3 Ideas

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Fairygodboss
May 19, 2024 at 2:56AM UTC

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is here! NDEAM traces back to 1945 when the United States Congress enacted a law declaring the first week of October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week”. In 1988, Congress expanded the week into a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. 

This month is recognized to pay tribute to the accomplishments of men and women with disabilities who help to keep the United States economy strong. This month also serves to reaffirm the Federal Government's commitment to ensuring equal opportunity for all in the workplace.

If you’re struggling with thinking up ideas to recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month at work, look no further! Below are a few thoughtful ideas that you can use to help educate your team about the month: 

1. Discuss disability inclusion topics in safe spaces. 

Discussion is the first step toward anything and it's imperative for companies to create safe spaces in the workplace for these discussions to occur. For example, ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) are excellent safe spaces to hold these discussions given that ERGs help to support and empower employees from underrepresented backgrounds. Your team should be able to dive into these discussions and express their feelings and thoughts without feeling judged. However, there should be guidelines set in place that allow team members to share their experiences and concerns while also ensuring that these conversations remain civil. These expectations surrounding language and terminology should be set prior to the start of any discussions. 

2. Hold a disability etiquette session. 

Disability etiquette encompasses respectful ways to communicate with and about people with disabilities. Holding a disability etiquette session at work will allow team members to learn the proper way to communicate with and about people with disabilities. This etiquette session should be hosted by a professional who is an expert in disability law, accommodation initiatives, and communication practices in the workplace. This professional will also be a great help post-session with planning the next steps for your company. 

3. Review your company’s hiring process

There are many ways that companies can work to make their hiring processes more inclusive
  • Including inclusive language in your company's job descriptions and interview questions is critical to improving disability inclusion practices in the company. 
  • Ensuring that your career site is accessible throughout all navigational elements. 
  • Utilizing diverse interview panels. Diverse panels are key to bringing new perspectives to the interview and improving the quality of your decision-making processes. 

Final Thoughts 

Remember, little steps go a long way. Beginning and following through on these conversations will take time and effort, but eventually they will lead to a more inclusive and welcoming work environment for all. 
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What's your no. 1 piece of advice for recognizing NDEAM at work? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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