The Power of Creating a Value-Based Accommodation
Workplace accommodations. Two words that often spark fear in the eyes of business leaders and human resource professionals. But why? Is it the complex regulatory framework and bevy of conflicting case law? Or maybe it’s the unfamiliar territory and potential litigation threat.
Whatever the reason, workplace accommodations don’t have to be viewed as a hindrance to your business, but rather an opportunity for employers to better support their people, while simultaneously creating value and positively impacting your bottom line.
So how does an employer do this?
First, know your business
Regardless of your industry, it is incumbent for benefit and HR professionals to have direct exposure to the different parts of their organization, experience the day-to-day environments of their workforce and learn firsthand about the evolving needs of their people and the business. Job descriptions serve as a foundation, but rolling up your sleeves and going on-site to observe and speak with employees is invaluable. Engaging front line staff and operations leaders can also reveal critical insights into rapidly changing business needs – not only providing direct insight into the needs and pain points of your workforce, but also those of your customers.
Start with the employee experience
Employees are the single greatest asset to an employer. Look for ways to optimize and improve the support you can provide your people, first, and the business impact will follow. Are there opportunities within your business operations to provide support through an accommodation that may not only bring an employee back to work faster – but also better equipped to do their job? By prioritizing and solving for the employees’ need, you can simultaneously address a larger business need. By helping your people achieve their goals, you can help your business do the same.
Take a non-traditional approach
Creative accommodations will vary depending on your industry, but engaging with a diverse group of peers to brainstorm possible solutions can reveal new and exciting opportunities for your employees. Engaging multiple stakeholders can not only lead to creative solutions, but will also drive interdepartmental collaboration to ensure awareness, cross-functional perspectives and most of all, a better relationship between HR and your business.
Accommodations are not limited to ergonomic chairs, sit-stand workstations and intermittent medical leave of absence. While these are all plausible forms of accommodations, a creative strategy to build, expand and develop new opportunities for employees creates a positive employee experience while driving value for your business partners.
In short, workplace accommodations can be good for your people and your business. By recognizing opportunities to create meaningful solutions that can increase engagement, productivity and presenteeism, employers can simultaneously bolster performance, loyalty and both employee and customer satisfaction – leading to a positive impact for your workforce and your bottom line.