Telework ExchangeSM is a public-private partnership focused on expanding telework adoption. It worked with the Federal Managers Association on an “Unnecessary Barriers” study. That study explores the performance of agencies in hiring, retaining, and effectively managing employees with disabilities.
The new study reveals that 71 percent of Federal employees feel their agency is committed to hiring employees with disabilities, but just half say their agency is equipped to make good on this commitment. Further, nearly half of Federal managers report they have not received adequate training to effectively manage employees with disabilities or to effectively retain employees with disabilities. That is 40and 45 percent, respectively.
While the study reveals a grim prognosis on the Federal government’s recruitment and retention practices for Americans with disabilities, it does uncover key opportunities for improvement.
The study suggests some key points to broaden employment opportunities and retention of workers with disabilities.
Secure Management Commitment Agencies with committed senior management monitor progress, provide adequate training, and offer technical support to employees with disabilities at nearly double the rate compared to agencies without committed senior management. Management buy-in directly impacts agency accommodations.
Educate for Equal Opportunity
The study reveals 36 percent of managers involved in approving or authorizing new hires or promotions are not familiar with Schedule A and 58 percent are not familiar with Executive Order 13163. Agencies must educate managers responsible for hiring on key mandates and advocate for equal opportunity.
Accommodate with Equipment
Eighty-four percent of respondents believe their organization offers reasonable accommodations, yet few offer telework, technical support, job-share options, or personal care assistance. Agencies must offer improved physical, access, communications, and technical accommodations.
“Agencies must equip, educate, and train managers to hire and retrain a workforce that
includes employees with disabilities,” said Cindy Auten the General Manager of Telework Exchange.
“Federal managers play a vital role in hiring, managing, and promoting employees with disabilities,” said Jim Mahlmann, National Vice President of the Federal Managers Association. “This study uncovers key opportunities to engage and educate managers regarding Federal hiring mandates and reasonable accommodation.”