It may not always seem obvious, but many employees currently have or may develop disabilities in their lifetime. Instead of excluding this ever-growing demographic of talented workers, it is imperative to foster a work culture of inclusivity for people with disabilities — for the good of your employees and your business.
On Season 5, episode 7 of the Survive and Thrive podcast, host Jennifer Ayres discusses why you should facilitate a disability-inclusive work culture and the benefits of hiring from this diverse pool of workers.
The Modern Workforce & Disability Inclusivity
According to USA Today, 25% of job seekers and current employees have some sort of disability. With the effects of long COVID, this number may continue to rise as we receive new data and information.
By excluding disabled employees from your recruitment process, you limit your options and are more likely to miss out on talented individuals.
According to an Accenture study, businesses that led in disability employment and inclusion saw around 28% higher revenue, double the net income, and 30% higher economic profit margins than those that did not. There is a financial advantage to hiring and retaining employees from this group.
USA Today also found that 23% of the workforce would benefit from accommodations, though only half receive support.
Leaders must properly equip their employees with the necessary resources to thrive. After all, the more agency employees have, the more productive, innovative, and motivated they will be to complete your company’s goals.
Financial Misconceptions of Disability-Inclusive Workplaces
Many leaders believe that creating a disability-inclusive work culture is expensive. This course of action may seem impossible to implement in the face of inflation and a possible recession.
However, there are many cost-effective ways to make your office disability-friendly.
Research by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) shows that workplace accommodations cost little to nothing, often resulting in a one-time $500 expenditure.
Examples of accommodations can be as simple as allowing for flexible, hybrid, or remote schedules, designating a space in the fridge for insulin, recording a Zoom meeting, or implementing a note-taking app for those with hearing and sight impairments.
Whatever the costs, there is more at risk with the hours of lost production, collaboration, and efficiency that can result from a lack of support.
The Benefits of a Disability-Inclusive Work Culture
Despite common misconceptions, hiring disabled employees positively affects company culture.
Lower Employee Turnover
A study by JAN demonstrates that disability accommodations result in higher employee retention, reducing the costs of training new employees by 58%. Employee attendance also increases by 57% when disability inclusion is prioritized. In general, disabled employees have proven to be loyal, motivated assets to their teams, benefiting their entire work culture.
In today’s growing Millenial and Gen z market, more and more consumers are choosing businesses that match their ethics. By openly supporting disabled employees, you show that inclusivity is one of your core values. Not only will you succeed at securing a broad customer base, but hiring disabled workers will provide you with insider knowledge of what this large demographic is looking for when supporting a business.
Creative Skill Sets
A common misconception is that having a disability makes you less intelligent or less talented. This reasoning could not be further from the truth. People with ADHD typically score higher on creativity tests than their neurotypical peers. Dyslexic individuals have demonstrated to have above-average reasoning and understanding patterns. Also, JAN has revealed that accommodating disabled workers has led to a 57% improvement in co-worker interactions, increased safety by 46%, increased overall company morale by 55%, and improved communication with customers by 38%. Neurodivergent employees have proven time and time again to be innovative thinkers and positive influences on work as a whole.
By encouraging a disability-inclusive work environment, you demonstrate that you appreciate your employees’ diverse skill sets and the unique abilities they bring to the table. When your staff, disabled or not, feels supported, they will be more likely to work harder to expand your business and grow in their roles.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of a disability-inclusive workspace, check out this week’s episode of the Survive and Thrive Podcast.