Hiring people with disabilities may seem like a social and/or moral responsibility, but it is much more than that. More and more research is revealing that it also makes good business sense to do so. Here are some ways in which it can be advantageous for your organisation:
- Creative thinking and Resourcefulness
The challenges that people with disabilities face in their daily lives are often much more than others. They have no option but to become creative problem solvers and to make an innovative use of resources around them. For example, Ken Harrenstein, a software engineer at Google, used his personal experience of being someone with hearing impairment to create a technology for automatic text captioning of videos on Youtube. Now, which organisation wouldn’t benefit from such ingenious and smart people!
- Reliable Employees
Many studies have shown that people with disabilities are reliable employees, i.e. they have lower rates of absenteeism and are more likely to stay on the job. Thus, there are reduced costs of turn over, recruitment and training. A study by Du Paul University (2007) reviewed existing evidence and found that people with disability have equal or better performance than the able-bodied employees on criteria like job performance, attendance and length of service. It also revealed that there is five times higher retention rate for them.
- Organization’s Image
Having people with disability in your workforce automatically improves the public image, perception and brand value of your organisation. It comes across as one with open mind and willingness to fulfill its socially responsibility.
- Diversity at workplace
Actively employing people with disabilities in your organisation improves the diversity, which is good for business. It promotes innovation, increases revenue and you end up recruiting more talent by widening your talent pool. In an interview with Huffington Post, Lori B. Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader of Ernst & Young says, “Ernst & Young seeks the best talent- period. To find the specialized skills we need, we have to tap the broadest available talent pools, including people with a wide range of physical, cognitive and mental health abilities. We know that diverse teams produce better solutions, so there’s a clear performance advantage to bringing together people with all kinds of differences – in gender, ethnicity, orientation, age, background, and abilities.”
- Improved morale and a supportive work environment
Having people with disabilities in your team increases workforce morale and promotes teamwork. These are essential ingredients for a productive work environment. Additionally, if the organisation has taken enough steps to make the workplace environment accessible, it sends the message that the management is concerned with employees’ needs and requirements.
Employing people with disabilities is in the best business interest of organisations. It’s a win-win situation for all stakeholders. It benefits the organisation and it empowers disabled people by providing them financial independence and improved self-esteem. By doing so, an organisation can also become an inspiration and encourage others to take similar steps.
- Sutter, J. D. (2010, February 9). An engineer’s quest to caption the Web. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- Australian Safety and Compensation Council, 2007, Are People with Disability at Risk at Work?
A Review of the Evidence, ASCC, Canberra, Du Paul University 2007 and Graffam J, Shinkfield A, Smith K and Polzin, U 2002, Employer benefits and costs of employing a person with a disability, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, vol. 17, no. 4, p. 251-263
- Siperstein, G. N., Romano, N., Mohler, A., & Parker, R. (2006). A national survey of consumer attitudes towards companies that hire people with disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 24(1), 3-9.
- Blahovec, S. (2017, February 24). Why Hire Disabled Workers? 4 Powerful (and Inclusive) Companies Answer. Retrieved August 24, 2017