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An inclusive workplace policy is a framework that fosters employee engagement by standardizing employment conditions. It also enables your company to create its own organizational culture.

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Your written workplace policy will depend on the size of your company and the scope of your intentions.

An inclusive workplace policy does not have to be complicated. Of course, if you operate a multinational company or report to a Board of Directors, your policy is likely to be somewhat more complex and extensive. Nevertheless, an inclusive workplace policy need not be complicated.

An inclusive workplace policy is designed to guide management's and employees’ conduct in accordance with your company’s performance objectives.
What does an inclusive workplace policy do?
An inclusive workplace policy is a framework that fosters employee engagement by standardizing employment conditions. It also enables your company to create its own organizational culture.

A company's culture is defined by its workplace policy.

Why does my company need an inclusive workplace policy?
Diversity and inclusion have become major business issues.

The benefits of inclusion include:
  • Improved employee engagement
  • More effective market presence
  • Enhanced public image

These benefits are outcomes of your organizational culture. They also stem from meeting the needs of all employees more effectively. (Read more in Tool #1: The Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities; Tool #6: Hiring with Efficiency.)

Once an organization has stepped up its recruitment efforts by accessing the largely untouched talent pool of people with disabilities, the next step is to retain qualified employees in order to increase the sustainable benefits that employees bring to the organization.
(Read more in Tool #7: Maintaining Successful Employment.)

Policy effectiveness is measured in terms of outcomes. This means that when a policy is implemented as intended, it helps foster a work environment in which no employee is excluded, marginalized, treated unfairly or prevented from accessing any resources, responsibilities, opportunities or employment benefits, regardless of any reasons or arguments that may be advanced to the contrary.

What are the components of a workplace policy addressing diversity and inclusion?

Generally, an inclusive workplace policy includes guidelines setting out a company’s commitment in the following areas:

  • Making reasonable efforts to guarantee employees’ and customers’ dignity, confidentiality, independence, integration and equal opportunities
  • Striving to communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take their disabilities into account
  • Providing assistive devices as needed
  • Making people with disabilities and their service animals or support persons feel welcome in the workplace
  • Making accommodations as needed
  • Providing accessibility training to company staff as needed
  • Receiving and accepting notices of temporary disruption
  • Establishing a process for receiving and responding to feedback

NOTE: Management practices are crucial to ensuring that policies are implemented meaningfully, rather than merely paying lip service to the importance of inclusion.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has developed an easy-to-read guide for employers:
A Place for All: A Guide to Creating an Inclusive Workplace, 2006. The guide is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations regarding the duty to accommodate, as well as to put together effective workplace accommodation policies and procedures.


[EXAMPLE] Diversity and Inclusive Workplace Policy: Digital Job Posting

Our Company does not discriminate when selecting new employees. Race, colour, disability, religion, gender, national origin and sexual orientation have no place in our hiring decisions. We select the best employees based on their qualifications, skills, knowledge and commitment.

When selecting new employees, our Company’s prime consideration is that the individuals must be the most likely to fulfill their job-related responsibilities.

Our Company also recognizes that candidates and/or employees may request accommodations in order to participate or perform to the best of their abilities. As per regional labour standards and national human rights guidelines, reasonable workplace accommodations and adjustments will be granted.


[EXAMPLE] Diversity and Inclusive Workplace Policy: Workplace Adaptations

Our Company recognizes the diversity of its workforce and it is committed to treating its employees equitably while ensuring that all employees can use their skills effectively and efficiently.

Our Company will do its best to provide all employees with the equipment, devices or workplace adaptations they need so they may contribute to our Company's performance, production and service delivery.


[EXAMPLE] Diversity and Inclusive Workplace Policy: Social Sustainability

Workplace modifications and adjustments are designed to ensure equal opportunities for all employees so they may participate in the workplace and in other related activities without discrimination.

Our Company also recognizes that candidates and/or employees may request accommodations in order to participate or perform to the best of their abilities. As per regional labour standards and national human rights guidelines, reasonable workplace accommodations and adjustments will be granted.



Disclaimer:

HIRE for TALENT has made every effort to use the most respectful words possible while writing these materials. We realize, however, that the most appropriate terminology may change over time. We developed these materials with the intent to respect the dignity and inherent rights of all individuals.

This document is provided for information purposes only. The content provided is not legal advice and should not be used as such. If you are seeking legal advice, you are advised to consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction.



Take the Challenge!

True or false


An inclusive workplace policy provides guidelines for a company seeking to create its own organizational culture. It also may bring direct benefits, including improved employee engagement and improved corporate image.

True.



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FREE EMPLOYER TOOLKIT

The toolkit offers a variety of informative tools. Learn about the skills people with disabilities bring to the workplace and use our ‘how-to’ resources, that provide practical tips and strategies on successful recruitment, hiring, inclusion and retention of people with disabilities.

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There is help to become an inclusive employer! HIRE for TALENT has a network of organizations offering services and programs designed to help your business recruit, hire, train and retain people with disabilities. After consulting the employer toolkit, call a HIRE for TALENT, Disability Confident PARTNER to find-out what services are available near you!

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FACTS & STATS

Employers often find that workers who identify as having disabilities have unique abilities; they also tend to work harder to prove themselves.
According to employers, people with disabilities perform as well or better than other workers. These employers concluded that hiring people with disabilities did not negatively impact their businesses.
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In a national survey of consumer attitudes towards various companies, 92% of the respondents gave favourable ratings to businesses that hire people with disabilities.
98% were satisfied or very satisfied with the service they received when dealing with an employee with a disability.