How inclusion looks in the workplace

The word inclusion is top of mind for many forward-thinking workplaces. But what does it look like day-to-day for people with disabilities?

Goodwill NCW’s valued community partner, the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, has a great resource called the Workplace Inclusion Checklist. As we serve people in our buildings and in integrated businesses in the community, Goodwill NCW references the checklist to break down barriers.

Here are a few tips to get started creating inclusive environments and examples of how these best practices have been implemented in workplaces in north central Wisconsin.

  • Meetings: Does the employee attend staff or employee meetings?

At Goodwill NCW’s Project SEARCH site at ThedaCare, interns are involved in daily team group huddles that discuss updates and are onboarded as if they are an employee. This practice fosters teamwork and ensures no one is left out of the organization’s communications and expectations.

  • Name: Does the employee’s name appear on mail slots, schedules, phone listings or other lists?

Goodwill NCW’s Outlet store has a bulletin board where schedules for all team members are listed, including all program participants. Establishing this norm creates an inclusive environment and provides real-world practice of essential job skills that can be transferred to any future workplace.

  • Pay: Is the employee paid for their work using similar mechanisms? Does the employee receive pay in same way as other workers?

Goodwill NCW offers competitive pay and benefits to eligible individuals of all abilities who train and work in stores. All program participants and team members at Goodwill NCW set up an account in the system that manages payroll and other Human Resources functions. In addition, digital skills training is offered to ensure everyone can use the system effectively.

  • Lunch: Does the employee eat lunch with co-workers?

All program participants at Goodwill NCW’s Group Supported Employment sites, which currently include Silver Star Brands, Thrivent, Werner Electric and Pierce Manufacturing, take meal breaks with company employees.

“Each break employees come up to the table and chat with Goodwill members which makes the Goodwill members truly feel included. Our Goodwill members also take initiative to introduce themselves unprompted because they feel welcome in the environments,” Tina Schaffert, Goodwill NCW Program Leader said.

Are you interesting in learning about more ways you can promote inclusion in your workplace? View the full checklist.