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Ideas For Companies/Employers

Disability Employment Awareness Month is an invitation and an opportunity for all Manitoba employers to strengthen their ability and efforts to increase the representation of people with disabilities in their workforces. Every company, large and small, can play its own role. Here are some ideas for you to consider:

Take Part in the employABILITY Expo – A highlight of DEAM in Manitoba, the employABILITY Expo is a great opportunity to show your support of DEAM. The breakfast keynote is a great way to educate some of your employees. As an Exhibitor, you can connect with possible employees, network with other Exhibitors, and heighten your profile as a disability-friendly company. As a Sponsor, you can achieve high visibility as a company committed to inclusive employment practices.

Create a Display — DEAM is a great time to freshen up bulletin boards in break areas or other locations that employees frequent by posting positive messages about your company's commitment to a disability inclusive workforce. Start by putting up this year's DEAM poster.

Review Your Policies – DEAM is an opportune time to review your company's policies to ensure they convey a clear commitment to an inclusive workplace culture.

Establish an ERG — DEAM is a perfect time to launch a disability Employee Resource Group (ERG). Sometimes referred to as Employee Networks or Affinity Groups, ERGs offer employees an opportunity to connect and receive support from others with similar backgrounds or interests. If your company already has a disability ERG, consider using DEAM to remind employees about it through displays, information tables or other communication channels.

Train Supervisors - Supervisors are the individuals closest to an organization's workforce. As part of DEAM, consider conducting training to ensure they understand their role in fostering your company’s inclusive workplace culture. Such training may include a review of relevant policies, including the process for providing reasonable accommodations.

Educate Employees — It is critical that companies committed to disability inclusion effectively and regularly reinforce that commitment to employees. DEAM offers an opportunity to do this through disability training or informal educational events such as brown-bag lunch discussions. If you do hold an event like this, consider inviting outside attendees – like some of your suppliers or primary customers. Several local disability organizations offer training programs on employment-related topics.

Publish Articles — Feature DEAM–related content in your employee newsletter or internal website. Articles could address a range of topics, such as general information about the company's commitment to an inclusive workplace, the process for requesting reasonable accommodations, or perhaps recognizing the contributions of employees with disabilities — either in general or on an individual level. Alternatively, or in addition, your company's top executive could issue a message to all employees recognizing DEAM.

Feature DEAM in Social Media Activities — DEAM provides an interesting hook for social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Organizations are encouraged to include the hash tag #deammb.

Issue a DEAM press release — Your company can also issue a press release to local media to announce your involvement in DEAM.

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