Integrating a Deaf Employee in the Workplace

Consider these strategies to help create mutually beneficial work relationships between deaf and hearing employees.

Pre-Employment
  • Ensure upper-level management support.
  • Clarify job requirements and job descriptions.
  • Provide organizational literature for review before the interview.
  • Provide a written itinerary if more than one person is interviewing.
  • Inform your receptionist or secretary that you are expecting a deaf applicant.
  • Prepare co-workers by reviewing communication strategies.
  • Discuss with managers and supervisors the best ways to facilitate integration.
  • Ask deaf employees about their communication preferences (sign or voicing).
  • Retain an interpreter, if necessary.
New Employee Orientation
  • Provide name tags, including job titles, for everyone.
  • Hire an interpreter for the first day, if necessary.
  • Provide an organizational chart.
  • Give deaf or hard-of-hearing employees information to read before the benefits meeting.
  • Use captioned films or videotapes, if available, that explain benefits, or refer new hires to your company's appropriate web page.
On the Job
  • Ask the person how to get his or her attention (tapping shoulder, waving).
  • Use visual signaling equipment for incoming calls.
  • Use hands-on demonstrations to assist in training.
  • Allow extra time for communication when training.
  • Provide an outline of the training session.
  • Assign a mentor to work directly with deaf or hard-of-hearing employees during the training period.
  • Share informal information.
  • Be sure to include deaf or hard-of-hearing employees in conversations, work break activities and social events.
  • Use a buddy system to alert deaf or hard-of-hearing employees to emergency situations.
  • Install flashing lights to work in conjunction with auditory alarms.
  • Review safety procedures, including exits and alarms.
  • Use texting, e-mail or pager to contact deaf or hard-of-hearing employees in the event of an emergency.
  • Notify security if deaf or hard-of-hearing employees are alone in work areas.