Updated: Oct 4
There are many advantages to hiring people with disabilities, with the most important being that there is no DEI without Disability.
With 22% of the Canadian population (6.2 million people), self-identifying as having a disability^, it's clear that the communities we live and do business in are diverse, our customers and clients are diverse, so it follows that our Canadian workforce should reflect that diversity.
Benefit #1 - Improvements in Profitability
In 2018, Lindsay et al. completed A Systematic Review of the Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities and found one of the main benefits of hiring people with disabilities is the improvement in profitability for businesses. These improvements don't just include an increase in profits, but also in staff retention rates and lower absenteeism overall alongside reduced training and turnover costs in your organization. Further, A 30-year analysis by DuPont de Nemours in the United States shows that persons with disabilities have equal or higher performance ratings, better retention rates, and less absenteeism.* When employed in a workplace committed to workforce inclusion of people with disabilities, employers find increased employee loyalty, reliability, and punctuality from all of its staff - not just those with disabilities. Lindsay et al (2018) also note an increase in productivity, work ethic, and safety at work when a culture of workforce inclusion is adopted and fostered by senior management.
Benefit #2 - Hold the Competitive Advantage
Another benefit for businesses that hire people with disabilities is the competitive advantage they obtain over their counterparts. According to Siperstein et al (2016), “87% of people indicated they would prefer to give their business to companies who hire inclusively.”** When consumers and clients see themselves reflected in your workforce, they are more likely to trust, invest, and tell their communities about your services.
Included in the competitive advantage diverse workforces have over those who do not prioritize accessible and inclusive hiring are the benefits of sustainable business operations. The Valuable 500, Allianz, and London Stock Exchange Group found that “failing to account for the disabled population poses a risk to a company’s brand, employee base and capacity to operate.”^^
Benefit #3 - Fostering an Inclusive Workforce Culture
An inclusive culture is a workplace culture that is supportive of and respectful toward all employees. Organizations with inclusive cultures embrace differences in backgrounds and experiences and make a committed effort to ensure everyone has equitable access at work. Employers who proactively hire people with disabilities found an increase in employee satisfaction and company loyalty with an inclusive work culture that reflected the abilities of the community in which they live and play. (Lindsay et al., 2018)
Benefit #4 - Ability Awareness
Of those who hired using accessible recruitment practices, employers found an increase in ability awareness from employees leading to stronger retention and employee wellness overall, and better services for clients. With improvements in profitability, holding the competitive advantage, and fostering an inclusive workforce, employees are better able to identify and accommodate the diverse needs of both their coworkers and customers or clients.
Interested in implementing hiring people with disabilities where you work?
Get in touch with one of the Inclusive Workforce Specialists in your area to find out how we can support you with our accessible recruitment, retention, training, and consulting services for employers in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario.
Lindsay S, Cagliostro E, Albarico M, Mortaji N, Karon L. A Systematic Review of the Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities. J Occup Rehabil. 2018 Dec;28(4):634-655. doi: 10.1007/s10926-018-9756-z. PMID: 29392591.
*Siperstein, Romano, Mohler & Parker, 2006
**The Next Great Hiring Frontier, Wall Street Journal, 13 September 2005 (UN Fact Sheet)
^^ESG AND DISABILITY DATA: A call for inclusive reporting - From the Valuable 500, Allianz, & London Stock Exchange Group, in partnership with Tortoise Media
Read the Workplace Adjustments Series
Every week, CAN WiN publishes a new Workplace Adjustment tip for our Employer Partners. Stay up to date on workplace accommodations recommended by the Job Accommodation Network.
Do you want to be a more inclusive and accessible employer?
Take this 15-minute Disability Inclusive Employer Self-Assessment to gain a deeper understanding of where you’re doing well and where there’s room to improve.
Open Door Group and Presidents Group collaborated on this tool, created from recent international research on practices that truly increase inclusion and retention of people with disabilities in the workplace.