ADA Accommodation Management Workplace and Cultural Inclusion Solutions
Whether you are passionate about your disability employment program…
Or are managing what seems like death by accommodation requests…
Companies typically address ADA accommodation management with 1 of 2 mindsets.
A time-intense HR process focusing on measuring risks, costs, and avoiding EEOC claims.
Or a strategic opportunity to build disability inclusion and maximize talent performance.
The difference? Outcomes.
One focuses on people. The other on problems.
One commits to inclusion. The other manages risk
One increases ROI. The other increases cost.
Transforming accommodation management is doable.
We understand the problems, difficulty, and can help.
Why are ADA Accommodations Difficult?
There are numerous reasons why accommodation management is difficult for companies wanting to become more disability inclusive. For starters:
- There are over 20 different types of invisible and visible disabilities
- Disability and impairment severity changes over time or day to day.
- Reasonable accommodations are not static
- 5% of Americans experience a short-term disability annually
- one in seven people every year will become disabled for five years or longer.
- Over 375,000 Americans become totally disabled annually
What does that add up to?
A 105% chance someone on your team will go on short, long, or permanent disability in the future.
Maybe they already have. Most disabilities are related to back, neck, and spinal issues.
Accommodation Management Operational Efficiency?
With so many different types and increasing rates of disabilities, it’s no wonder companies attempt to create operational efficiency in their accommodation management approach.
Unfortunately, these approaches are often loaded with unintended negative consequences.
Consider the influence your accommodation management strategy has on retention and morale from a disclosure, agency, and cultural perspective.
With Gen Z and Millennials more communally embracing and identifying with their visible and invisible disabilities than any previous generation…
How might a rigid, standardized, “operationally efficient” accommodation request process feel to an employee managing a disability?
And when employees share corroborating stories about their experience?
Disclosure rates will drop right before retention does.
What happens if you don’t change?
1. Standardizing accommodations across disability types.
Wheelchairs are wheelchairs. Autistic is Autistic. Right?
Disability is on a continuum; it isn’t static. The severity, and therefore level of influence, that one’s disability has on their ability to perform routine daily activities or essential job functions can change drastically from day to day. This is just one reason why categorizing people with disabilities, and pre-determining what is and what is not a reasonable accommodation based on a disability type, decreases employee engagement, confidence, morale, and trust.
2. Avoiding the interactive process.
The interactive process between an employer and employee can be uncomfortable for HR and managers. How do you think the person with the disability feels?
This situation speaks to deeper disability inclusion problems, but the interactive process of accommodation management is low-hanging fruit that can create significant cultural change in your company. Like all new relationships, you get to know someone through asking questions and having a conversation. Empathy, eagerness to help, and sincerity will be transformative.
3. Waiting too long to engage on accommodations.
If a new hire comes to HR during orientation training or onboarding to request a reasonable accommodation, you have disability inclusion gaps in your hiring process and accommodation management. This accommodation request lag means work performance will initially suffer, the employee may need re-training, and the preventable costs continue upward.
Consider how you can start the accommodation conversation with candidates before their first interview. Companies with a comprehensive disability inclusion strategy leverage job descriptions to engage candidates in multiple ways prior to their first interview, including on accommodations.
4. Not realizing company policy may be bad policy
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission holds with conviction that changing the way things are customarily done is an explicit purpose of the ADA. And when we’re talking reasonable accommodations, even a company’s organizational policies are on the chopping block.
This includes changing “no-fault” attendance policies, probationary policies, and 100% healed policies. Even if these policies are “how we’ve always done it”, what cascading positive effects might happen if your company decided to change similar policies to better support disability diversity and inclusion?
If you’re unsure how to start or begin the change process…
We can help.
Make ADA Accommodations a Strength
In 2020, disability discrimination claims totaled 24,324, accounting for 36.1% of all EEOC discrimination claims.
Disability discrimination claim rates year over year are higher than race, sex, age, national origin, religion, and equal pay discrimination claim rates. Second only to retaliation.
That’s not because companies are getting it right.
Smart disability inclusive companies bring in an expert who understands the cascading effects.
Because when your talent feels comfortable enough to disclose their disability…
They have sent you a message… An opportunity.
It’s not getting the reasonable accommodation request approved.
It’s showing your talent how much you care.
It’s demonstrating your commitment to their success.
And if you want help getting that right…
Invite us to have a conversation about your accommodation management goals.
Not ready to improve your accommodation management approach?