10 HR Leaders Make A Pledge For Disability Inclusion

1 in 3 people show unconscious bias against people with disabilities, including neurodifferences. As individuals we can all challenge our own biases. As HR leaders, you can encourage others to do the same.

What will you do to challenge unconscious biases, and help your neurodivergent colleagues and those with disabilities, to feel more understood and welcomed in the workplace?

We asked HR leaders to answer and take a pledge by filling in this blank and providing more detail:

"Starting today, I will challenge my own biases by ______________. "

Here is what 10 HR leaders had to say....

  1. Accepting all people for who they are

    Starting today, I will challenge my own biases by increasing my empathy and understanding of neuro-differences. Neurodivergent colleagues and client professionals are not people who need to be fixed - but rather, celebrated for their differences. As people, our differences are our strengths, and understanding what that means is the path forward.

    Debra Hildebrand, Hildebrand Solutions, LLC

  2. Incorporating an effective disability inclusion policy

    Incorporating an effective disability inclusion policy. Because people with disabilities are often hesitant to apply for jobs they don't think they'll get, their interests and talent aren't noticed by hiring managers. Fortunately, the problem can be solved easily. To remedy this, we can start to build a robust pipeline for recruiting employees with disabilities in part by engaging with disability-support organizations.

    Nick Shackelford, Structured Agency

  3. Offering guidance and support

    Starting today, I will challenge my own biases by understanding more about the special assistance that may be required to empower people with disabilities. Providing the best possible support to valued employees by evaluating their needs and providing them with the required support whether a coach or facilitator, should be part of an inclusive workplace.

    Saskia Ketz, Mojomox

  4. Allow for preferred channels of communication

    Starting today, I will challenge my own biases by giving everyone time and opportunity to share their ideas in a preferred mode of communication.

    Some people would rather speak their ideas right away within a group; some find one-on-one conversations or written communication more comfortable.

    Whatever the mode is, I should habitually respect and accommodate them anytime.

    It’s best not to pressure everyone to develop ideas on the fly. I will allow a few hours or days for staff members to respond to my instructions or requests whenever possible-- especially for non-pressing matters.

    By fostering an environment that respects each one’s way of communicating and response time, we unconsciously make it easy for neurodivergent employees to interact effectively with their environment and seamlessly share their ideas.

    Michelle Ebbin, JettProof

  5. Accept and divert

    Starting today, I will challenge my own biases by accepting my own flaws and diverting negative perceptions into more productive thought processing. Some examples include conditioning the mind that all people are neurodiverse, including myself and my neurodivergent colleagues. No one is excused and excluded from biases nor even close to perfection. Hence, we should all show respect to one another.

    James Parsons, Content Powered

  6. Demonstrating curiosity

    There is generally nothing more innocent or honest than a question asked by a child. Children have no preconceptions, judgments, or biases, and as a result, until a certain age, their thoughts and questions come from pure, unadulterated curiosity. The problem with adults, however, is that we stop asking innocent and honest questions as we get older and our views of things turn to stone. That is why stopping to ask colleagues child-like questions, even if slightly embarrassing, can expose our own unconscious biases and preconceived notions. Asking the most basic of questions can reset our thinking, and make us take a step back to realize things we may otherwise take for granted.

    John Ross, Test Prep Insight

  7. Asking for constant anonymous feedback

    I will challenge my own biases by asking for constant anonymous feedback from my colleagues.

    Incorporating questions on racial, gender, disability, and age bias in regular employee feedback surveys is crucial in eliminating biases in the workplace. As a business leader, I have to determine areas where prejudice occurs, and these initiatives should also start from myself. Knowing my biases helps me address them in real-time, and fellow leaders should follow suit.

    Making this feedback anonymous allows my colleagues to give honest and transparent answers more liberally.

    Arthur Iinuma, ISBX

  8. Promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace culture

    Starting today, I will challenge my own biases by promoting diversity and inclusivity in my team.

    I am guilty of unconsciously delegating tech projects to my male staff since this work is often perceived as a masculine job. I want to challenge this, and debunk those perceptions. I will do better to give such opportunities to female employees too. I want to empower everyone to showcase their skills and strengths.

    This also applies to hiring people of different ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities, and more. There are many unexplored potentials when you learn to remove your biases and promote a healthier and more enjoyable workplace culture.

    Baidhurya Mani, Sell Courses Online

  9. Self-reflection

    Starting today, I will challenge my own biases by beginning each day with an honest assessment of myself to assess the hidden assumptions I am prone to. It suffices to say that unconscious bias is difficult to recognize and account for. Hence, any attempt to address them should begin with research, introspection, and self-awareness. With that awareness, I can take proactive steps to address them daily, making changes that guide my actions and behaviors with empathy, compassion, and open-mindedness.

    David Bitton, Doorloop

  10. Getting rid of assumptions

    Starting today, I will challenge my own biases by not assuming I know how my colleagues think or feel.

    I believe that it is often tempting to feel pity for people with disabilities, or neurodivergent people. I sure have before in the past.

    But the more I've read about and met such folks, the faster I've understood the level of independence, pride, and pure grit they exhibit in their day-to-day lives.

    They refuse to be defined or limited by their condition, however minor or major. Instead, they often use it as fuel to propel them to new heights, and that is inspiring as hell to me.

    So instead of lazily defaulting to sympathy, I will challenge my biases about who they are inside and not assume I know what they need and want. I will let them communicate their thoughts and feelings instead.

    Peter Bryla, Zety

Thanks to our friends in the Terkel community for pledging to make a difference.

If you're on your own journey with diversity and inclusion, check out our webinar with IBM and the Valuable 500 -  a global business collective made up of 500 CEOs and their companies, innovating together for disability inclusion. Together, we'll be exploring disability inclusion strategies that are moving the needle to support people with disabilities and neurodifferences.

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