Hiring people with disabilities: What you need to know

‘Employees with disabilities will be more loyal and committed if given the opportunity’

Most recruiting occurs from the perspective of the perceived ‘best available candidate.

Even in large organisations who implement implicit strategies to increase the representation of people with a disability, the ingrained HR policies and processes are designed to filter out less credentialed candidates.

There have been many examples where an explicit strategy is not enough to make change.

Often a dedicated resource is required internally to identify these barriers and break them down so candidates with different capabilities and experience are included,

In Australia, one in five people live with disability, so 20% of the potential candidate pool is cut off if people with disabilities are not considered for roles.

However, that doesn’t make business sense and doesn’t make sense for the economy either.

For many smaller employers, it is often the perception or fear of the unknown.

The increased time in training and developing staff instead of choosing highly experienced staff on day one, the fear of having to make major changes to the workspace or invest in specialist equipment.

Research routinely finds that while the initial investment in training and development can be greater, the staff loyalty, increased retention and long-term commitment far outweigh the initial costs.

That’s why disability employment organisations exist, to assist employers with on-the-job support and training as well assisting the employee through all the early hurdles and anxieties that any new employee faces.

So, what are some of the positive flow-on effects of hiring someone with a disability?

Consumers are expecting much more from the businesses they engage with.

They expect the workforce to be reflective of the greater community and they expect a commitment to social and environmental outcomes.

Employers who take the time and effort to provide opportunities for those often overlooked regularly remark that it was the best decision they have ever made and the employees have quickly become incredible assets to their business.

“People with disabilities want to work. They will be more loyal and committed if given the opportunity.”

Diversity and inclusion were seen as something that was good to do, but now can be included as an indicator of good governance and potential financial performance. Inclusive workplaces are generally more positive with innumerable flow on effects throughout the workforce, customers and the community.

The impact of a specific disability may be of no relevance to a specific task, and for that reason they could be a fantastic future employee.

It is hard and can be filled with knock-backs. That only makes securing the job all the more special when it happens. Is it little wonder why these employees turn out to be very loyal to the businesses that gave them their first opportunity? Sustained, meaningful employment gives people a sense of identity and self-worth, increased confidence and expanding social networks. It also leads to financial independence and opportunities to gain skills, knowledge and develop a career.

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