Many business leaders have a misshapen idea of what is involved in hiring a person with disability. The widespread view is that people with disability are a liability to an organisation, and that hiring them is simply a way for the organisation to give back to the community, an act of charity, nothing more.
But the realities of hiring a person with disability are actually quite different to this common perception, and in a very positive way. There are a wealth of often surprising benefits that come with hiring a person with disability. Organisations, particularly large multi-nationals, are now waking up to the advantages of such inclusivity and diversity in their workplaces, and are moving fast to address any imbalance.
So what are these perks? Here are four of the best.
Greater Loyalty and Reliability
The fact is that people with disability have proven time and time again that they are more loyal and reliable than the average worker. One study of 400 call centre workers by the Chicago Lighthouse found that on average, people with disability had a retention rate of 1.7 years, while people without disability left after 0.9 years. People with disability also commonly have lower rates of absenteeism and use less paid leave than people without disability.
Better Safety Performance
It may seem counterintuitive to many, but studies have found that people with disability actually boast a significantly better track record than people without disability in the area of safety.
- A 1940s study by the US Department of Labor found that people with disability not only had fewer accidents, but the accidents that they did have were also less serious.
- In a survey of 100 large corporations, the US Office of Vocational Rehabilitation found that 55% of people with disability had better safety records than people without disability, 40% had identical records, and just 5% had higher rates of incidents.
- In an in-house survey DuPont found that the safety records of 96% of their people with disability were average or better.
Recruit from a Larger Talent Pool
It’s good to have options as an employer. By immediately dismissing all people with disability you’re severely limiting your options, which may cause you to miss out on the top talent. When you look closely you’ll find that for most jobs it is essentially irrelevant – a person in a wheelchair, for example, is just as suited to a desk job as anyone else.
For small businesses who may not be able to offer the perks or pay packet of the top flight employers, denying yourself access to all available talent – and perhaps the best person for the job – can negatively impact your business in the long run.
Gain a Reputation for Inclusivity
Even if the points above don’t convince you of the inherent worth of people with disability, you have to admit that hiring people with disability is fantastic for public relations. It shows your organisation is serious about inclusivity, diversity and opportunity. This will foster goodwill from your current and potential customer base, and can serve to make you a desirable employer for the top talent in your area or industry.
It also exposes your other workers to the realities people with disability face, which promotes better understanding within the community. Your employees will likely learn a lot about problem-solving, creativity and perseverance from their colleagues with disability!
So while conventional wisdom might tell you that hiring people with disability is bad for business, the truth is quite the opposite. Many large organisations have realised that the pros far outweigh the cons, with the likes of 3M, Pepsico and AT&T all choosing to put a focus on disability employment.
By being proactive, your organisation could soon be enjoying all the benefits that come with hiring a person with disability too.
breakthru is an expert in supporting employers to find the right talent. We work together with employers from various industries and sectors, to place the best person for the right job, every time. Contact the breakthru team now for help!