Let’s attempt to further discussion about the concept of Diversity and inclusion. Everyone has spoken of minority groups (women used to be minority) and marginalized populations but let’s focus a bit on the disabled. The fact is 15% of our population faces life with physical disability of a kind. This is a significant portion of our population that we can’t afford to leave behind. Especially in the productive sector. Does diversity play a role in the thinking of your business? We think it should. The disabled are also your buyers (customers and consumers), suppliers, competitors and also employees. It would help to think of them too.
The disabled also provide a pool of talent from which the businesses can tap into. Your business should be conscious of this fact and be proactive too. You should not only proactively encourage the disabled to apply to work in your businesses but be very deliberate in mainstreaming them in your workforce. Trust me, they experience life differently and can help your organization think differently too. While at it, realize that even fully abled people can become disabled while in the course of your employ. Do you have the necessary policies (eg WIBA) to ensure that they do not face big difficulties in adjusting?
Human Capital Development
If you haven’t been seeing a lot of disabled people showing up for interviews at your business its because you haven’t also done them to prepare them to come. For those who have to grow and develop under the circumstances it’s not been an easy ride. It helps that you could also play a part in their development. You can offer scholarships to them that sees them through high school and college. I have seen some businesses who give back to such communities especially during the festivities. Just like everyone else, they also look for opportunities to prove themselves. Give scholarships
As a business you could have a deliberate strategy to reserve a percentage of your purchases to this group of interest. Everyone hunts for opportunity. Sometimes the ground isn’t all that flat for everyone and if full abled body guy can use a lift so can a disabled brother/sister
They are your customers too. Yeah, maybe you don’t think of it enough, but the final consumer of your product might as well be disabled. Do you have that in mind as you make your product? Do you in a way tailor it to be user friendly. Well not everything looks applicable in the first instances but maybe we should think about it more
Well, it’s easy to see who has reserved a parking slot for the disabled and of course a wheel chair ramps is easily visible but what else? Let’s think the whole facility and its user friendliness. Are the toilets and other areas of access as welcoming? You have a bit of information on brail or sign language interpretations? I once worked in a big organization that wasn’t exactly disability friends. I would hate to think of the SMEs and their environments
All in all, the disabled are our brothers and sisters. Let’s think proactively about them and provide them a little space to play in our business lives. Do you work in an area you can promote disabled entrepreneurship? Do you feel you can do more? Yes I thought so.