Becoming Disability Positive at work
The NHSE/I London Equality & Inclusion team asked us to help introduce their new initiative encouraging staff to be confident in sharing their disability status and getting individualised support.
NHS England estimate the number of staff with a disability is around 15%, but official staff disclosure rates put this figure at 3%. This low rate means that some staff might not be effectively supported, and the NHS doesn’t want anyone to feel they have to mask a disability and persevere with non-ideal working conditions.
Our solution started with a simple premise: ask staff what they think.
We contacted the NHS disability networks and talked to people about the issues. They told us about the NHS as an employer and why people may be afraid to share their disability status. Often the experience hinges on the attitude of a line manager, with their response limited by the information available to them.
We created a manager’s guide with information on conversations about disability and reasonable adjustments to make these discussions less emotionally taxing.
The NHSE/I London Equality & Inclusion team hosted a webinar to share the guide to all 37 London NHS trusts, and we created promotional materials that felt appropriate for an open, honest and modern workplace.
By presenting the information in this way we hope to give people with disabilities the confidence to discuss their needs with their employer.
“We want to encourage staff to share their disability needs with us so we can continue to attract, recruit, and retain the best people.”
“We want to share candid stories – both positive and challenging – that reflect the experience of NHS colleagues with disabilities and whether they choose to share their status.
The guidance given by the staff disability networks helped us shape the creative in a way that avoided being condescending. Hopefully this helps staff to get the support they need.”