WX trends: Is your workplace truly inclusive?

WX trends: Is your workplace truly inclusive?

Our workplace experience (WX) trends series looks at recent news articles, videos, social media posts and thought leadership pieces on workplace experience. You’ll also hear from our experts on what’s trending.

This week in WX trends, we’re looking at what workers with disabilities face at the interview stage and beyond. Next, we’ll explore the world of toxic leaders and how quickly they can erode an inclusive workplace. Finally, what we can do to better support our neurodiverse colleagues.

Workers with disabilities face discrimination on the job

One-third of workers with a disability feel as though they face barriers when interviewing for a job – and the struggle continues after getting the job, according to an article in Inc.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that 22% of people with a disability were employed last year in the United States. However, their road to employment often feels like an uphill battle.

A recent survey from The Harris Poll conducted by Indeed found that a quarter of workers with disabilities have faced discrimination from an interviewer.

Having an inclusive workplace and hiring practices benefits workers with disabilities and the company culture as a whole, says Donna Bungard, senior program accessibility manager at Indeed.

“Small business leaders should reassess their hiring processes from start to finish, ensuring they are inclusive of both current employees and potential employees with disabilities,” Bungard explains in the article. “There are invariably opportunities for companies to revise terminologies, enhance flexibility, and prioritize the voices that need to be heard.”

“Creating a digital workplace community that encourages employees to share their stories and voices is one way to support a more inclusive workplace,” says Holly Grogan, head of people and culture at Appspace.

How to spot a toxic boss – and what to do about it

Most workers have encountered a toxic boss during their careers. As the saying goes, people don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad leaders.

From negative bullish behaviour to gaslighting and manipulation, a toxic leader can erode trust in the workplace and spark havoc on what’s normally an inclusive environment, according to an article in Forbes.

“In a 2022 poll by The Muse, 64% of respondents said they experienced a toxic work environment, and 44% blamed leadership,” according to story author Bill Howatt, Founder and CEO of Howatt HR. “But too often, workers remain in these situations due to financial instability, the feeling that they won’t find a better job or fear of how their leader may retaliate.”

Defining leadership standards and behaviors, monitoring culture, hiring smart and removing toxic leaders quickly are some of the ways to mitigate toxic behavior, says Howatt.

Grogan stresses the importance of building a culture that leads with empathy: “Cultivating psychological safety begins with leaders who actively support their teams. We need to hold ourselves and each other accountable for fostering a culture of respect and empathy.”

Navigating neurodiversity in the workplace

Workplaces can do more to accommodate workers with neurodiverse conditions, according to an article in the UK’s HR Magazine.

Neurodiverse conditions include autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia. According to several studies, the number of people diagnosed with “neurodivergence” has risen in recent years, with as many as 8% of adults globally having some form of this condition.

Offices are typically designed with neurotypical folks in mind. But that would be an oversight for the neurodiverse, a population which has a lot to offer, says Dr. Naomi Humber, a clinical psychologist and Bupa Health Clinic’s head of mental wellbeing.

“They can have impressive attention to detail, amazing energy levels and real focus in terms of certain tasks that they perform,” she explains.

“Having a varied team which includes people who are neurodiverse means that an organization’s workforce better reflects the demographic of their customer base.”

How can businesses better support a neurodivergent colleague? It’s important to understand the person on an individual level, says Humber. While open-concept work zones and hot desking can be overwhelming for some folks, consider quiet zones, dedicated work spaces and noise-cancelling headphones.

“Sometimes the biggest barrier can be the stigma surrounding neurodiversity in the workplace,” says Grogan. “That can be the first place to start making any work environment more inclusive.”

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