The Commercial Benefits of Employing Disabled People
by Jane Hatton, Evenbreak
It’s a cliché, but still true that for most businesses their people are not only their most important asset, but also their most expensive.
Recruiting and retaining the best people who are equipped with the right skills needed to do the job can take up much time in an employer’s life.
As 20% of the working population are disabled, and eight out of 10 disabled people acquired their disability during the course of their working life, the chances are that disability is an issue that you will come across in your company.
In business, as in society, there are many misconceptions about disabled people, mainly driven by the negative image of us in the media. As employers we are all concerned about saving money, and employing disabled people can feel like an expensive luxury.
However, the reality is somewhat different and, interestingly, company surveys consistently conclude that organisations who have successfully employed disabled people are keen to employ more.
Let’s look at the commercial side. There are more than eleven million disabled people in the UK with spending power up to £80 billion a year. Employing disabled people, understanding disability and generally having a proactive attitude towards disabled customers could be hugely rewarding to your organisation’s bottom line.
Also, it is much cheaper to retain a staff member who has become disabled than try to recruit someone new. The Post Office estimates that medically retiring an employee can cost around £80,000.
From purely a recruitment point of view, if you positively seek to attract applications from disabled people you will have a much wider choice of potential employees with a good range of skills and a positive attitude towards work.
Many studies (sources available on request) show that on average disabled employees are just as productive as their non-disabled colleagues (sometimes more so), have less time off sick, fewer workplace accidents and stay with their employers longer, increasing retention and saving money on recruiting and training new staff.
Showing a positive approach towards disability also tends to foster good relations with other staff and generally enhances your reputation as an employer of choice.
So all in all, employing disabled staff is a good commercial decision. However, it can be difficult to attract talented disabled people, and that’s where Evenbreak comes in.
Evenbreak is an award-winning not-for-profit job board run by disabled people for disabled people. Inclusive employers advertise their roles there confident that they will attract talented disabled candidates they probably won’t attract from any other source.
Shockingly, some employers still think that disabled people have nothing to offer – perhaps they should try telling that to Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Winston Churchill, David Blunkett and Richard Branson.
Jane Hatton M.Sc. FCIPD FRSA is the Founder and Director of Evenbreak (www.evenbreak.co.uk).
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