Claire Holland

Claire Holland, Deputy CEO of charity Enhance The UK invites employers to review their policies and cultures to create a more accessible working environment for all employees.

Creating an Accessible and Inclusive Culture at Work

To introduce myself, I'm the Deputy CEO of Enhance The UK and I'm an expert in disability awareness, helping organisations to create accessible working environments for all. As a Deaf woman with a hidden disability, I know first-hand how many unnecessary barriers there are for disabled people in the workplace, and as a disability awareness expert, I know how straightforward and inexpensive it is to remove those barriers.

For example, the average cost of a reasonable adjustment for an employer is just £30.  So, there's really no excuse not to implement simple changes that make a significant difference to the 1 in 6 workers in the UK who have a disability.

Claire Holland

When delivering training and talking about accessible workplaces, people often think of ramps and disabled parking bays, but there's much more to an accessible environment than being able to enter the building. It starts with leadership and culture and includes things like:

  • Creating accessible job adverts
  • Making employees feel confident enough to disclose their disability to HR (80% of disabilities are hidden)
  • Providing disability awareness training for your employees
  • Highlighting that your organisation is a Disability Confident Employer
  • Choosing software for video calls that has accessible features
  • Having transcripts available for the podcasts your tech firm produces
  • Using subtitles on all video content
  • Understanding the importance of lighting in an interview situation for a person who lipreads
  • Or simply asking a disabled colleague what equipment would help them when carrying out their daily tasks

Glasgow's IFSD is full of beautiful buildings filled with financial services, business, and technology companies who serve customers around the globe but, if your services aren't accessible to disabled people, how can you really claim to be a champion of diversity or an inclusive employer?

It's fair to say that many people are nervous when discussing disability and lack the confidence to have appropriate conversations when needed. Our interactive workshops give employees the confidence and skills to have open conversations and build stronger working relationships, which creates a positive experience for colleagues and customers alike. We also run 'Lunch and Learn' sessions, a bite sized virtual experience which can focus on specific areas such as recruitment, HR or reasonable adjustments.

The world of work is changing and it's an exciting time for organisations to really step up and think about access for disabled people - be that a school leaver applying for an apprenticeship, or an employee who has been too scared to talk to HR about their hidden disability - and for disabled customers and their 'purple pounds', which account for £249 billion annual spending power.

There's lots of free insight on our Disability Awareness Training website and you can learn more about our charity by visiting or connecting with us on twitter @EnhanceTheUK

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