There can be many misconceptions about hiring people with disabilities. While employers may have various valid concerns, many businesses who have employed people with disabilities have seen great outcomes for their whole business. Interestingly, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) more than four million Australians, experience disability which is nearly 1 in 5 Australians.
What is a disability?
Firstly let’s define what a disability is. The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes disability as a broad term that covers impairment, activity limitations and participation restrictions.
- Impairment is a problem in body function or structure;
- Activity limitation is difficulty experienced by an individual in executing a task or action;
- Participation restriction is whereby an individual in encounters problems that deal with involvement in life situations.
What are the business benefits of hiring people with disabilities?
- Reliable – The Australian Safety and Compensation Council report showed that people with a disability take fewer days off, take less sick leave and stay in jobs longer than other workers.
- Improved Risk Management – Organisations that are more inclusive generally have processes, systems and capabilities in place to minimise the risk of injury, complaint or breach of discrimination law that benefit all staff and ultimately the business itself.
- Productivity – A person with a disability can perform as well as other employees in the right job.
- Reputation & Brand Building – A 2014 Employer of Choice study and many other similar studies have shown that employees and customers are more loyal to organisations that value diversity, inclusion and the makeup of their workforce reflects the whole community. Also, there is evidence highlighting that inclusiveness is being taken into consideration when awarding contracts and tenders.
- Attracting Diversity & Retaining Talent – organisations with recruitment processes and workplaces that are barrier-free to people with disability, tend to create a culture that helps staff perform at their best. Diversity attracts and retains from the widest possible talent pool. An inclusive workplace is more likely to be more engaging, motivating and productive.
- Affordable – Recruitment costs are lower due to incentives via government-funded programs for training and hiring.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016, 4430.0 – Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2015, viewed 24 February 2017
- Employer of Choice Study, 2014 by Instinct and Reason for Heads Up campaign. AND surveys of members and case studies.
- Australian Network On Disability – https://www.and.org.au/pages/business-benefits-of-hiring-people-with-a-disability.html
- Government of Western Australia, Department of Communities – http://www.disability.wa.gov.au/business-and-government1/business-and-government/employing-people-with-disability—-disability-services-commission-disability-wa/benefits-of-employing-people-with-disability/