You said HR take care of this, then you said it’s not enough that HR are taking care of this, why not? What else is needed?

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There is a deep relationship between a line manager and their team members. The experience your employee has with their line manager is their experience of your organisation. It is your policies, procedures, values, culture and organisational climate brought to life and made real. Your line managers are the secret to unlocking the potential of great workplace adjustments. They need to understand and care about this. They need to feel comfortable talking about adjustments. They need to do it in a confident, empathetic and caring way, putting your employees first so that your organisation can soar. And, they need to not make any assumptions.

Almost 50% of disabilities are non-visible. You can’t tell who has one or what someone’s adjustment needs may be just by looking at them. Nor can you tell what an adjustment need might be by knowing what medical condition an employee has – the specific adjustments an employee might require is unique to them, not their health condition. There might be commonalities but you need to assume there aren’t any and simply speak to the individual to understand their specific needs. This is easier said than done. It’s seriously difficult not to make an assumption about an adjustment need, especially with visible disabilities. But, everyone’s circumstances are unique. The good news is it isn’t hard to have a conversation that leads to the implementation of adjustments that work. It isn’t hard to have a chat in a future one-to-one to enquire how they are getting on with their adjustments, nor is it difficult to modify their adjustments if required. It’s all about having open conversations about workplace adjustments often, instigated by the line manager, not just the employee or HR. 

That’s right, the line manager needs to bring this up. You will have some employees who are comfortable sharing an adjustment need with you and others that may not be comfortable about sharing but will as their health condition is visible or requires a level of adjustment that they simply cannot cope without. But, what about everyone else? If you want everyone who requires an adjustment to get one, you need your line managers to discuss the positive approach your organisation takes towards workplace adjustments. You need to make it easy for employees to say “Hey, I think I might need an adjustment, can we have a minute to chat?”. You also want your employees to feel comfortable to say “Hey, my current adjustments aren’t working as expected, can we have a chat about switching them up?” What your line managers do is your culture.