Hiring People With Disabilities - The Business Case
The Business of Compassion, Inclusion, & Profit
6 Reasons to Hire Employees with Disabilities
As a human resource professional, you must set the direction when it comes to hiring decisions. Including applicants with disabilities and special needs in your recruiting efforts is not only the right thing to do from an ethical and workplace diversity standpoint, but it also makes sense from a business perspective. Askearn.org, which is created in conjunction with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), has outlined six reasons for hiring people with disabilities. Here they are:
1. Social Responsibility
Hiring those with disabilities, special needs, veterans, and maturing workers is the business of compassion and inclusion. Individuals who have disabilities also have a desire to contribute to society and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and a sense of being an integral part of our society. By hiring employees with disabilities, you are supporting the higher good in our society and you are setting an example for others to follow.
Workforce psychology and organizational management 101 consistently returns to the importance of diversity in any work environment. Diversity comes in many forms from the proportion of males to female workers, different ethnic backgrounds, and of course, those with disabilities and special needs. A diverse work environment has been proven to be healthier and draws talents and innovation from a wide variety of perspectives, circumstances, and backgrounds.
3. Return on Investment
When you hire people with disabilities and special needs, you are transforming a social issue into a business opportunity. The opportunity comes in the form of lower costs as well as higher revenues and profits. It effectively opens your business up to new markets and can improve productivity through creativity, innovation, and more effective ways of completing tasks and conducting business operations. When you hire people with disabilities, in many cases, you will incur less training costs and statistics show that you will increase retention of these employees. There are also tax benefits for employing those who are disabled.
4. Human Capital
The HR professional is primarily concerned with the quality of the human capital in an organization. Including special needs employees expands your talent pool. Past perceptions have been that employing them decreased productivity. Those who currently employ them have indicated quite the contrary. In fact, many strive to gain mastery of their tasks and have a burning desire to show that they can contribute just as much or greater to the organization and the team. When you have employees who are engaged and less likely to leave your organization, you have an ideal employee.
Employees with disabilities bring a variety of backgrounds, experience, and expertise to the workplace. This contributes to new and innovate problem-solving skills, new ways to work more collaboratively, efficiently, and in a cooperative manner. For example, Cisco Systems made a decision to hire employees with disabilities and reaped many benefits from doing so. John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO stated that it was "instrumental in spurring on new forms of creativity and productivity in the work environment." It also allowed them to gain a better perspective on how they interact with technology, which lead to enhancements in their product line.
There are 54 million Americans with disabilities according to marketresearch.com, which makes this market one of the highest segments in the country, second only to baby-boomers. When you employ special needs employees, you create a business atmosphere of inclusion for other employees and from a business marketing perspective, that atmosphere of inclusion will draw in more customers who also have disabilities as they will feel more welcome in your place of business. It does not take long for word to get out among the community that a small business or corporation supports workers with disabilities. As people are driven by consumer choices increasingly based on social responsibility, this becomes a significant factor in whether they decide to conduct business with you.