Benefits of Hiring People With Disabilities

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Empowerment through Employment: Promoting the Hiring of Disabled Individuals

Posted April 25, 2024


Posted April 25, 2024

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Laptop with accessibility symbol on the screen with a cassette tape underneath and an open envelope on top.

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Joyce Bender, Founder of Bender Consulting Services, discusses the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities can have for organizations. Learn more below.

Thirty years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. At the time, it was the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities and protected them from discrimination. The ADA also increased accessibility and mobility for individuals with disabilities in public spaces by mandating businesses provide automatic doors, elevators, and ramps. 

Fast forward 30 years, accessibility has made significant strides to provide the disabled community access to the physical and digital worlds. 

Despite these needed improvements, the disability community is under-represented in the workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22.5% of people with a disability are employed, the highest ratio since 2008 data was first recorded. 

We recently sat down with Joyce Bender, founder of Bender Consulting Services, and a life-long advocate for employment for people with disabilities. Joyce, who lives with epilepsy, points out that even with more physical accessibility in public settings, people with disabilities are still underhired compared to most other groups of people. In a recent interview on AudioEye’s HearSay podcast, she stated: “I recently went into a company that had such an elaborate wheelchair ramp, but I had to ask: ‘Do you have anyone to use it?’”

Many employers fail to recognize the business value that comes with hiring people with disabilities.

5 Benefits of Hiring People With Disabilities

1. Access to a Highly-Loyal Talent Pool

Last year, the average turnover rate in the U.S. was 3.8%, with two-thirds of those turnovers attributed to employee resignation. And it’s no secret that replacing employees is an expensive, time-consuming process.

When searching for jobs, people with disabilities look for stable, reliable, long-term employment opportunities. This typically results in higher employee retention rates, which can add to your company’s bottom line.

2. Boosts Workplace Morale

Hiring individuals with disabilities can have a huge impact on employee morale. Bringing individuals with disabilities onto the team shows you care about equality and inclusivity. Essentially, when you prioritize inclusive hiring, you show employees that you value fairness and strive to create a workplace where everyone feels accepted and appreciated. This makes work more enjoyable for individuals, which increases overall morale.

Additionally, working alongside individuals with disabilities encourages empathy, teamwork, and a deeper appreciation for people’s unique abilities and perspectives. This also makes employees feel more connected to your business and more inspired to make positive contributions.

3. Improves Brand Reputation

When you prioritize diversity and inclusivity in your hiring, you send a powerful message about your values and commitment to social responsibility. Essentially, you’re showing customers, investors, and the wider community that you’re ethical and compassionate. In an era where consumers are more mindful of the values behind the brands they support, showcasing inclusivity gives you a competitive advantage.

Additionally, recruiting individuals with disabilities helps you cultivate a stronger connection with customers who value diversity. That positive perception not only boosts brand loyalty but also generates positive word-of-mouth marketing, leading to more revenue opportunities. Ultimately, hiring people with disabilities elevates your brand’s reputation as socially conscious, forward-thinking, and inclusive.

4. Creates New Revenue Opportunities

As we alluded to above, the disabled community is a highly loyal group. According to research AudioEye conducted into the buying habits and preferences of the disability community, 80% recommend businesses that prioritize accessibility and inclusivity to their friends and family. Hiring individuals with disabilities shows you’re dedicated to improving accessibility and promoting inclusivity. This expands the reach of your audience and introduces new revenue opportunities.

In our conversation with Joyce, she recalled data from Accenture that companies who hire people with disabilities have “two times the revenue from performance earnings than those who don’t hire people with disabilities.”

5. Diversifies the Workforce

Finally, hiring individuals with disabilities brings diversity to your team, which can unlock innovation, creativity, and productivity. People with disabilities experience barriers and problems within their personal lives daily. This typically forces these individuals to think outside the box and develop innovative solutions, which can be highly beneficial in a business environment.

Joyce recalled a conversation with a friend who spoke about the impact people with disabilities can have on innovation and productivity. “She told me ‘Don’t ask me about the training you need, the strategy you need — all you need to do is hire a person with a disability to get [innovation] going.’”

The Future of Inclusive Hiring

While companies recognize the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities, work still needs to be done. The disabled community is still fighting against decades of stigmas and misunderstandings around their skills and capabilities. 

“Hire someone with a disability,” Joyce said. “We want paychecks — not pity.” She described that bringing a disabled person onto teams is the most effective way organizations can recognize the above mentioned benefits. Rather than focusing on the unique accommodations people with disabilities might need in the workforce, focus on what the person can do for you and the company.

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