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How Managers Can Move Employees with Disabilities into Leadership

How Managers Can Move Employees with Disabilities into Leadership

​A recent study found that employees with disabilities often believe they don’t have the same opportunities for advancement within their company as do employees without disabilities.Overall, employees with disabilities are less confident their skills will be used effectively or that their employer will trust them to use their own judgment when performing their job, according to a recent study on The State of Disability Employment Engagement by Mercer and Global Disability Inclusion. It often depends on a manager whether an employee with a disability gets the same leadership development opportunities as any other employee. “Leaders … need to look for ways to give people with disabilities opportunities to be visible in front of a group,” said PwC Tax Director Rob Rusch. “If we live in world where an individual in a wheelchair is visible, then it starts to break down that perception” that someone in a wheelchair may not be capable of performing a certain job.Here are three ways managers can provide leadership opportunities for employees with disabilities.Encourage Self-IdentificationMore companies are encouraging employees to self-identify that they have a disability, particularly if an employee has an invisible disability. People who disclose their disability are more engaged with the organization, their managers and their teams than those who have not disclosed, according to The State of Disability Employment Engagement. “I’m very comfortable identifying my disability, but I don’t have much choice because it’s an external physical disability,” said Rusch, who has a neuromuscular disability and uses a power wheelchair. Although Rusch understands that an employee with an invisible disability might not be as eager to disclose because of concerns about how a manager or co-worker could react, he doesn’t regret being open about his disability. “It has opened resources and doors for me to lean into that identity,” he said.Of the 45,078 PwC employees in 2020, 2.6 percent self-identified as having a disability, up from 1.6 percent of its 43,713 employees in 2018, according to the 2020 PwC Diversity & Inclusion Transparency Report. However, Senior Associate Nesa Mangal said, because PwC is relying on self-identification, the number of employees with disabilities is likely higher.At tech company Intel, 1.4 percent of the 110,600 employees self-identified as having a disability in 2020, said Dawn Jones, chief diversity and inclusion officer and vice president of social impact. Intel’s goal is to increase the percentage of employees who self-identify as having a disability to 10 percent of the workforce by 2030, Jones noted. “This is an important goal for us as we work toward an inclusive and psychologically safe environment where employees are empowered to bring their whole self to work and succeed,” she said.Address Inaccurate Perceptions “Because of first impressions, people with disabilities probably don’t always get the benefit of doubt that [other people] get, especially if their disability is visible,” said Paula Jenkins, a project manager and executive chef at The Galley Dining Hall in Charleston, S.C. Jenkins manages 120 employees, and about 92 percent have a disability. The Galley contracts with Palmetto Goodwill in …

How Networking Speeds Your Job Search

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How Networking Speeds Your Job Search

Bestselling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.If there’s a bit of career advice you’ve heard over and over, it’s that networking is the best way to get a job. But what we seldom hear is exactly how to network.Networking isn’t just about knowing people. The value lies in who those people are, what you hope to gain from a relationship with them and what you intend to offer them in return. No matter how early it might be in your career, think about and decide where you want your career to go, then work backwards to identify the stepping stones you’ll need to get to that goal.You can know influential people in your profession, but the relationship you have with them is what’s important. And you can’t build those relationships without meaningful conversations moving those relationships forward.Consequently, the people who land the best opportunities fastest and with greatest ease do so because they have built solid professional relationships that are based on knowing, learning from and helping those people who can best influence their careers. Their resumes can reflect these relationships.Your Resume Powers Your Social Media PresenceManaging your professional networks with a robust and properly focused social media presence is one of the most powerful methods for managing your career destiny. Your social media presence represents how you think of yourself as a professional and how you present yourself to your working world.Defining your professional persona starts with writing the right resume. Your resume will form the basis not only of your job hunts but also the social media presence through which you become known to your professional community. In building your resume, don’t try to make yourself the perfect choice for multiple jobs. When you try to squeeze all the things you can do into one resume, the resulting resume will lack focus and will be found less frequently in recruiters’ resume database searches. Focusing on one job (or sometimes two very closely related jobs) will make your resume dense in the necessary keywords necessary to be discovered in database searches. Your social media profile should reflect much the same information. The Best Networking ContactsNetworking is more than just knowing people; it’s developing mutually beneficial relationships. These are the types of people who can be of most value in your professional network:Anyone who works in your profession is a good contact, but of greater value are people who work in either your particular area of responsibility or an area of expertise that your job interacts with on a regular basis.Even better potential networking colleagues are people who,work in your specialty or one closely related to it and who hold job titles one, two or three levels above yours. These are the people most likely to be involved in hiring someone like you.You can meet all these people at local SHRM chapter meetings and in online groups. With online groups you can, of course, reach out and ask to …

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