What do I actually do?
I provide consultancy to clients that helps them identify and remove employment barriers for disabled people.
This means having an effective, efficient and sustainable workplace adjustments process.
Why? Because disabled people say their ability to get adjustments is a critical factor when applying for and staying in a job. It’s also part of the Equality Act in the UK (and similar legislation elsewhere in the world) - employers have to make workplace adjustments (referred to in law as "reasonable adjustments" or "accommodations") for disabled job applicants and employees.
Furthermore being able to make adjustments acts as a driver for getting other aspects of the inclusive workplace sorted out – such as cross organisational stakeholder buy-in (IT, Facilities Management, Occupational Health, etc.), accessibility, policies, guidance, and training.
So, the ‘hands-on’ work that I do for clients ranges from the high-level to the detailed centred around workplace adjustments, for example:
- Stakeholder/team engagement and buy-in
- Disability employment strategy definition
- Manager and employee feedback
- Workplace Adjustment process analysis, definition, and implementation
- Capability development, e.g. training, guidance, documentation
- Policy review and development
- IT & Communications Accessibility
How might we work together?
The way I work with clients obviously depends on each client’s needs, but as a starting point I use 4 models as follows:
I am commissioned for a short period of time to analyse your “as is” position, identify areas for improvement in your current workplace adjustments process, make recommendations on how best to address those and move to the “to be”.
For example, you might already be hearing from colleague engagement or "pulse" surveys that disabled colleagues are scoring lower than non-disabled colleagues and you're trying to address this but with limited success. The root cause is likely to be your workplace adjustments process but you haven't yet dipped your toe in that water.
So I usually start by conducting interviews with stakeholders, focus groups with employees and managers, reviewing policies and existing guidance/training, and so on. It could also include presentations to senior stakeholders to help secure buy-in and raise awareness.
This is a great, low-risk way of getting the ball rolling.
In this model I support you to deliver – your team, my experience.
This would work well after a “discovery” exercise when the “as is” is confirmed, activities to move to the “to be” are identified and you have the resource to deliver, just not the detailed expertise.
For example, if you've got an Operational Excellence or Lean Six Sigma team then let's use them for process mapping, RACI matrices etc. and I'll provide the detailed input, ask the challenging questions and ensure nothing is missed.
I do the ‘heavy lifting’ on specific activities and deliverables as and when needed. This gives you access to me when you need it and reduces the onus on your resources.
We agree on a number of days on average per month that you are likely to require assistance over a given period of time, normally a year. You pay in advance and then have access to those days should you need them. This can work out a more cost-effective way of engaging me for longer periods.
In the best retainer relationships there’s a clear start and end point, e.g. at the start, we scope out the work that is likely to be needed and level of time, we then do the work and have a clear end point, for example handing over to your internal resource.
This is a blank sheet - we discuss your needs, my experience and how best we bring the two together to achieve your goals.