There are nearly 10,000,000 people who are hard of hearing in the USA, and 10% of those are deaf. This is a large segment of the workforce, yet 1 in 4 deaf people say they’ve left their job due to discrimination.
Have you considered how to make your business more deaf friendly?
Making a few simple changes to some of your procedures and facilities can make deaf people feel more welcome and increase their ability to contribute to your company.
Inclusivity of deaf or hard of hearing employees goes beyond just making direct eye contact and speaking clearly.
If you’re wondering how to make your workplace more inclusive, read on for our tips!
Make Your Hiring Process More Accessible
There are many ways to accommodate a deaf job candidate. Make sure to ask the applicant how they prefer to communicate and offer to hire an interpreter. Provide a written itinerary of the interview process as well as a list of interview questions.
Prepare your staff who will be conducting the interview and process, and make sure upper management is on board with all deaf-friendly accommodations.
Become Deaf Friendly Certified
Deaffriendly.com offers a certification for your business. Through a series of online trainings, Deaffriendly will help ensure your staff has the skills to serve and work with deaf people.
Train All Staff in Communication Methods
Train staff to understand how to get the attention of a deaf or hard of hearing employee, and how to communicate best – whether it is through writing, signing, or lip reading. Review these practices frequently and make sure they are a part of any new employee orientation.
Implement Deaf Friendly Emergency Protocols
Put emergency alerts and procedures in place that are designed to help deaf and hard of hearing people. Just like with regular alarms that have multiple features, deaf-friendly alarms should be “redundant” so that if one fails, another is in place. Sending out emergency broadcasts in as many formats as possible – text, email, phone/TTY – will ensure you reach your hearing impaired staff as well.
Make Sure Your Paperwork and Forms are Accessible
It may seem like a detail, but people with a disability often approach paperwork with some anxiety. They may find their disability erased or not acknowledged on important hiring and employment forms. Companies like thepaystubs.com have resources to help your company be more inclusive and diverse.
Benefits of Becoming Deaf Friendly
There are many benefits to creating deaf employment opportunities. You will find that your deaf employees are adaptable after a lifetime of adjusting to the world around them. This ability to adapt and grow can bring a new perspective to your workforce, helping to boost morale and rejuvenate your team’s chemistry.
Deaf employees are often more detail-oriented and they have practice communicating across barriers, a great skill for customer service providers.
Finally, the IRS offers tax benefits for companies that employ deaf people and those with other disabilities. The Barrier Removal Tax Credit, Disabled Access Credit, and Work Opportunity Credit all offer credits or deductions for deaf-friendly employment practices.
Make Your Business Deaf Friendly
There are so many ways to make your company more inclusive – and to reap the benefits of that diversity. Start making changes today to include the deaf and hard of hearing population!
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