Important conversations are being held to help our workplaces become accessible, inclusive, and welcoming of team members of different abilities that enhance our projects and teams.
For many decades, the viewpoints and talents of peoples with disabilities have often been left out and behind, and barriers to accessible employment still remain today due to varying factors such as pre-conceived notions, unconscious biases, and more. Now a new certificate program has been launched by The Presidents Group, a network of 25 change-driven BC business leaders who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces, and is relevant to anyone involved in hiring or managing people. People with disabilities represent an important employee talent pool that is largely untapped. Hiring inclusively can also improve culture and increase retention.
This video explains why creating inclusive workplaces matter: https://accessibleemployers.ca/members/presidentsgroup/activity/188/
The course itself is a five-part curriculum offering insights into topics such as:
Legal Requirements of an Inclusive Employer
Accommodations in the Workplace
Elements of Inclusive Workplaces
Knowledge into Action
To see a detailed curriculum visit: https://learning.accessibleemployers.ca.
The Presidents Group was formed in 2013 as an initiative of the provincial government, and is a network of 25 change-driven BC business leaders who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces. The group also advises the Minister of Social Development and in 2018 The Presidents Group launched the Community of Accessible Employers, which gives employers beyond the 25 appointed members the chance to join the movement to accessible employment. The community now includes businesses of all sizes, non-profits, support services, governments, and community organizations. For those who aren’t hiring directly or would like to know more about this certificate, they can ask their employer to sign up to be a member of the Presidents Group. The training is free for BC employers or anyone associated with a BC employer.
There is an expanding community of employers that have signed on, and as public relations and communications professionals, hiring inclusively means new viewpoints and creative solutions that previously may not have been considered. It could also mean giving lasting hope, removing barriers to understanding, learning new things together, and creating value in our lives in a very significant way. To qualify, anyone from your organization can join the online Community of Accessible Employers at https://accessibleemployers.ca/join/.
Peoples with disabilities experience higher unemployment rates than those who don’t have a disability but they offer amazing talents in ways that are adaptable, resilient, and creative. But in a post COVID-19 world, they can bring leadership that allows more of us to adjust to a new norm.
To get started, this video offers tips on how to be an inclusive employer now and in a post-COVID-19 world: https://accessibleemployers.ca/members/presidentsgroup/activity/938/.
In PR and communications, we may be working with a colleague who has a disability but who might be afraid to disclose. Workplace culture may require changes, perceptions will need to shift, and empathy is important in order to generate dialogue and be more inclusive. This program will greatly help everyone build the skills to confidently hire and encourage a journey of growth together.
To create more inclusive and accessible workplaces, we can start by how we see each other and make an effort in our communications.
About the Author
Gent Ng is a multi-faceted communications professional and digital storyteller who has weaved through various government and private sectors. With more than 15 years of active related volunteer work with several non-profits and community organizations in various communications and stakeholder-related roles, he is curious by nature, but driven by how storytelling can impact our communities in both new and existing mediums. He was involved in the development of this accessible workplaces course due to his life experiences as a person with a disability.
Gent holds a B.A. in Political Science from SFU and a Diploma in Digital Marketing from UBC Sauder School of Business. When Gent needs a break, he can be most commonly found exploring culture and architecture in neighbourhoods with a cup of coffee in hand or chasing sunsets with a camera.