Top 10 Ways to Access The Disability Advantage

It’s been proven*  that companies employing people with disabilities reduce costs associated with turnover, training and health care.  They also benefit from greater innovation and customer loyalty. Despite these documented advantages, many organizations are lagging.  Jumpstart the disability advantage with these top ten steps:

  1. EXPAND YOUR DEFINITION OF INCLUSIVITY

    Hiring from a few “diverse” demographics (e.g. women, the LGBT community) doesn’t translate to full inclusivity. Companies that don’t include people with disabilities in their recruiting universe are losing out on an educated, talented and motivated group.

  2. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR POWER

    CEOs wield enormous power to effect change.  Tone from the top is the single most important factor in successful inclusion. Delegation works only if the CEO speaks loudly, stays involved, and continues to champion the company’s inclusive hiring practices.

  3. STOP THINKING CHARITY

    Many organizations think hiring people with disabilities is a form of charity or a social responsibility issue.  Despite better safety records and lower turnover, recruiting from this demographic is lumped in with purchasing organically grown coffee.  Seriously?

  4. ACT, DON’T JUST DONATE

    When corporations are recognized for donating money to inclusivity causes, they often feel they’ve done their part. Writing a cheque is a good thing; being an inclusive employer is better.

  5. GO BEYOND LEGISLATION

    Government legislation isn’t designed to ensure inclusivity; it simply appeals to the lowest common denominator. Attitudes cannot be changed with legislation. Only hiring people with disabilities solves the problem of inclusion.

  6. APPEAL TO A HUGE MARKET

    53% of Canadians have or are related to someone with a disability.  That’s more than half the population. Companies ignore this massive demographic with a disposable income of $42.2 billion at their own peril.

  7. AVOID WAGE SUBSIDIES LIKE THE PLAGUE

    It makes good business sense to hire people with disabilities. But if employers don’t pay them, they typically aren’t invested in the outcome. Wage subsidies devalue the worth of employees with disabilities, and encourage unfair, even immoral hiring practices.

  8. DON’T WAIT FOR THE “PERFECT POSITION”

    Companies often say they are committed to hiring people with disabilities when they identify the right roles.  There’s no particular area where a person with a disability can work.  From CEO to mailroom, there are as many roles as there are people.

  9. THINK OUTSIDE THE ELEVATOR

    Corporations often believe that accessible entrances, ramps and elevators determine inclusivity. But only 6% of the disability community actually uses a wheelchair or scooter. Many people require no accommodation at all.

  10. START TODAY

    The single biggest justification is “not being ready.” Want to find out how to hire a person with a disability? Hire a person with a disability.  That’s a best practice.

*Findings are summarized in this report: Rethinking Disability in the Private Sector.