There are a million disabled people in the UK who can and want to work, but face too many barriers to getting into, staying in and progressing in work. That’s a huge pool of talent and potential waiting for employers to tap into.
To do that, workplaces need to be genuinely inclusive. That might sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
One of Scope’s mantras is ‘what gets measured, gets done’. That’s why we’re encouraging employers to take simple steps towards becoming more inclusive by gathering data about disabled employees.
We’ve worked with businesses and disabled people to create a step-by-step guide for employers on how to report on disability employment and ensure all employees can thrive.
Why is data important?
Scope’s research shows that fewer than one in five businesses surveyed (18%) currently monitors, measures and reports on progress to support disabled employees.
Getting the right data can be game changing for businesses, however. It will allow you to find out how well you are supporting current disabled employees.
Receiving the right support allows disabled people to succeed and progress at work, so it’s hugely beneficial for employer and employee.
Businesses are missing an opportunity to both change internal practices that will benefit disabled colleagues, and to tell prospective recruits and customers about how well they support disabled employees.
Analysing this information will allow you to see what’s being done well and what improvements you can make to get the best out of your employees.
It helps to create a culture where disabled employees feel they can be open about their impairment or condition, and are better placed to get the support they need to thrive.
Another piece of research from Scope found that half of disabled people worry about disclosing their impairment or condition at work.
Attracting new talent
Gathering disability data also sends a clear message to prospective employees that, as a business, you want to recognise and celebrate diversity, and nurture talent.
Scope’s research found that one in four businesses surveyed (26%) claim to have never had a disabled candidate.
This suggests huge numbers of businesses are currently not attracting applications from a large section of the talent pool.
What data should businesses gather?
We recommend that employers should:
- Identify the number of disabled people they employ.
- Gather information on the number and quality of reasonable adjustments offered.
- Carry out a comparison of average earnings between disabled and non-disabled staff.
- Breakdown the number of disabled employees in each pay bracket.
Some employers already gather this data internally, but few are taking full advantage of the value of disability data.
As a result, businesses are missing an opportunity to both change internal practices that will benefit disabled colleagues, and to tell prospective recruits and customers about how well they support disabled employees.
Reporting can help identify:
- Levels of satisfaction.
- How many disabled staff have progressed through your business, and if there are any barriers to them doing so.
- The effectiveness of adjustments.
- Which areas of the business are under-represented?
This insight will provide the evidence you need to make the case internally to make any changes to become a more inclusive organisation.
Publishing disability data
We believe publishing disability data helps build trust and confidence among disabled people, and lays the groundwork for greater transparency and inclusion in our workplaces.
Currently, reporting this data is voluntary. In November, the government introduced a voluntary reporting framework on disability, mental health and wellbeing.
It doesn’t matter how inclusive your organisation is today. It’s about deciding to start that journey.
Last month, Scope was proud to become the first employer to publish a report in line with this framework.
In leading by example and being open about our performance, including areas where we know we need to improve, we wanted to encourage other businesses to report, and work with us to make inclusive workplaces a reality.
We know not all businesses feel they are in a position to publish their data, however.
What’s most important is that businesses take those first steps. It doesn’t matter how inclusive your organisation is today. It’s about deciding to start that journey, and measuring whether your efforts are making a real difference to your disabled employees.
How you can get started
We’ve been working with businesses in a range of industries and sectors to get an insight on how they currently support disabled employees, what data they are collecting and monitoring, and where they would welcome guidance.
Using this insight, we have published a step-by-step guide for employers on how to report information about disability in the workplace.
We have identified what data employers can gather and report on, and how to use this data to become more inclusive.
Our guide is aimed at employers that have 250 employees or more, but all employers should find it useful.
Businesses supporting each other
Businesses that want to take full advantage of the benefits of employing more disabled bring should join the #WorkWithMe community by signing our #WorkWithMe pledge.
This is an initiative by Virgin Media and Scope to help businesses become better employers of disabled people and to create more inclusive workplaces.
The pledge is a free, five-step plan for organisations to take accountability for hiring and employing disabled people and offers practical advice on how to improve workplace policies, practices and culture.
Crucially, businesses are encouraged to share their experiences and resources with each other.
Click here to download Scope’s step-by-step guide on how to report on disability employment within your workforce.
To find out more about becoming an inclusive employer, and access free resources, businesses can sign Scope and Virgin Media’s #WorkWithMe pledge at workwithme.support.
Interested in this topic? Read Three ways to create a diverse and inclusive workplace.