Workplace Attitudes and Disability


Perceived Attitudes of Colleagues Determine Openness

Consistent across Return on Disability Group (RoDG) studies is that it is people, not “stuff” that most determines the experiences of People with Disabilities (PWD). This is true for both consumer and employment experiences. For consumers, interactions with customer service staff tend to be key drivers of experience, while in the workplace, it is interactions with managers, colleagues, and customers, usually in that order, that largely determine whether a career is perceived as positive or negative.

As part of our quarterly research program, RoDG conducted two parallel surveys: one assessing the workplace perceptions and experiences of PWD, and another examining the attitudes of people managers on topics of workplace diversity and PWD in the workplace.[1]

As part of the first survey, PWD were asked to rank the largest barriers to openly discussing disability in the workforce. The top-ranked barrier to discussing disability was the perceived attitudes of managers. This finding is not surprising, given the influence of managers on career trajectories. The second ranked barrier was attitudes of co-workers.

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[1] Return on Disability quarterly surveys, third quarter 2022. N=825 self-identified PWDand 208 self-identified managers.