A thorough induction process is particularly important for employees who are deaf or have hearing loss. It’s the ideal opportunity for practices to be set up to support someone, so they’re embedded in the employee’s and team’s ways of doing things.
“I’d advise any employer of a hearing-impaired person to be proactive from the outset to identify the barriers they might face in the workplace. Different people have different needs” – Ben Knighton, Manager, EY
What to consider at induction
- Offer new starters another opportunity to share information about theirdisability or health condition that needs support in the workplace. Their line manager can repeat the message that you are a welcoming organisation that values diversity and inclusionand has support available. If applicable, mention this in an induction presentation or pack.
- Offer a workplace assessment to your employee as this can ensure the right support is in place. Access to Work will consider paying grants of up to 100% if the application process is started within the first six weeks of employment.
- Make sure that the right adjustments are in place. Once the employee has started, it may become clearer what environmental adjustments are needed; for example, check with the employee that they are sitting in an appropriate position in the office, where there is not too much background noise.
- For someone whose first language is sign language, keep in mind that lots of written induction documents may take them longer to read through than other people, and ensure a sign language interpreter is available to go through documents with them together. Because of this, the induction programme should be phased so that there’s not a mass of information at one go.
- Give team members the opportunity to learn communication skills to support their new colleague – and other existing and future colleagues who may have hearing difficulties.
- New employees with hearing loss may also be interested to know about other people with hearing loss within your organisation. Informal staff networks or organised groups can be useful channels of communication for staff with hearing loss.