Supervisors should discuss career expectations with each employee, including an evaluation of the employee’s interest, talents and skills in relation to the requirements of available jobs. If an employee’s career goals seem unachievable, the supervisor should provide constructive feedback and try to reach an agreement with the employee on appropriate goals and the path to achieving them. However, the supervisor should not assume an employee’s disability will be a barrier.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy suggests encouraging career lateral movement for employees with as part of a career development program within the company to gain new experiences and skills, exploring the fit of an employee’s skills and interests with available jobs. Job rotations familiarize employees with the entire operations of the business, helping an employee recognize the transferability of skills and abilities to other positions. Job enrichment is another important career development tool. http://www.dol.gov/odep/
Team building opportunities give employees chances to solve problems and develop solid working relationships with co-workers. Supervisors should ensure that employees have leadership opportunities and are assigned to special projects, planning sessions, off-site projects, and assignments requiring travel. Do not make career development decisions for an employee based on limiting concepts or stereotypes about that employee.
Employees should be included in both formal work groups and informal employee gatherings. People with disabilities enjoy the same types of social and recreational activities as employees without disabilities. Often, important business may be discussed at these events and interpersonal relationships are developed. All employees should be given the opportunity to participate. It is critical to arrange events in accessible facilities and arrange transportation to accommodate staff with disabilities.
Mentoring individuals builds human capital. Mentoring experiences prepare individuals for advancement by strengthening their skills and providing them with confidence. Individuals with disabilities continue to face attitudinal barriers in employment. The mentoring process can help break down employment barriers by encouraging individuals to take a more active role in planning and pursuing their careers.
Employees with Disabilities should be encouraged to find mentors, whether or not the mentor has a disability. Mentors provide many benefits such as:
The organization should ensure that training opportunities are available to employees with disabilities. Formal classes must be held in accessible facilities. Materials should be available in large print for persons who are visually impaired, interpreters should be provided for participants who are hearing-impaired, and other necessary accommodations made. Employees with disabilities should request any such accommodations.
All employees must take responsibility for their own career development. Employees should continually seek out new education, training and information. They should keep up on the latest information in the field, network and volunteer for new assignments.