Little tweaks’ can make an organisation more inclusive and accessible

COMPANIES should look beyond the “obvious” additional support and reasonable adjustments when they employ a person who identifies as disabled, according to Andrew Napier, an HR graduate intern at Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

Mr Napier, who is registered blind, received support from Inclusion Scotland prior to his interview with SDS. “They put me through a mock interview prior to the real one so I could find out what to expect,” he told The Herald and GenAnalytics Diversity Scotland virtual conference.

Both Inclusion Scotland and SDS have since done “everything they possibly can” to help him, from the obvious support like providing a screen reader and braille reader.

He said: “It is important for every employee to get clarity around their role, especially for those who are disabled or have additional support needs.

“But there are less obvious ones such as how you communicate with employees – these are equally important and SDS have really worked hard, allowing me to shadow individuals in the HR team but also senior individuals from the business in all departments.”

In a breakout session, Alex Wilson, employment officer at Inclusion Scotland, praised SDS for working in partnership with the organisation to employ Mr Napier and his colleague Pooja Marwaha, a graduate research valuation intern. “Going through presentations and psychometric tests can be barriers to people like Andrew and Pooja, who suffers from anxiety.

“Little tweaks to your recruitment processes can really open up your organisation to be more inclusive and accessible,” he said, pointing to the decision by SDS to introduce bump lines in its stairwell for the benefit of all employees – not just those with disabilities – as an excellent example of how people can learn from each other.

Ms Marwaha added: “My manager and Inclusion Scotland came together to ask me what could they do to make things easier for me. It’s the small wee things.”