Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM)
October in Canada is Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM).
DEAM offers thirty-one days to acknowledge the contributions that individuals who experience disability make to the employment landscape. It’s also a month to discover how your organization can adjust to the ever-changing employment landscape by becoming more inclusive and more accessible.
While many organizations host events and educational experiences and celebrate in their own way, what’s most important about DEAM is that we carry the celebrations, lessons learned and spark for change into the following months. While October offers time and space to focus, it’s also a starting point for a yearlong marathon of inclusion efforts.
Foster Relationships with Other Organizations
During DEAM, the connections you make with other organizations by collaborating in learning or inclusion exercises can be fostered into lifelong supporting relationships that can help advance diversity and inclusion practices. The shared knowledge can be useful in developing policies and actions that are not limited to the month of October.
Engage with Your Teams
DEAM gives us time to focus on communication with our teams. When celebrating DEAM, we can engage with our current workforce to gather input on how we can better support them throughout the year.
DEAM can become an annual campaign of community brainstorming on how to better serve and support your teams and your clients on their journeys.
Celebrate Employee Contributions
DEAM is a great time to acknowledge the ways in which your team members contribute to your overall success in unique ways. It can be a time to review the way you celebrate and acknowledge your team members to make it more meaningful and representative of the success that is driven through diversity.
Successes should be celebrated throughout the year to maintain and improve engagement.
DEAM Sets the Stage for the Year Ahead
ake the month of October to set inclusion goals, commit to better support for your teams and clients, and plan to act in the year ahead to ensure meaningful change. Staying in one place may be easier, but change will take you far. By using this month to plan for the future, you are supporting the sustainability of your organization for years to come.
Whether you Lit it Up for NDEAM or not, you can leave an impression in the work that you do to celebrate diversity and inclusion year-round. Take what you have learned and experienced this month and turn it into a plan or a goal or an action to further the development of inclusive workplaces and communities.
Remember: the best time to start planning for the future is today.