Studies show one adult in four has some type of disability, whether visible or invisible. With billions of people with disabilities across the world, disability is part of human diversity – and diversity should be part of any business. In spite of their desire to work, people with disabilities tend to be underemployed compared to their peers. Most people with disabilities want to work, but it is difficult to find employment. To raise awareness about disability inclusion at work, more needs to be done.
A culture of disability inclusion at work is more than just hiring people with disabilities. It offers employees with disabilities – visible or invisible – an equal opportunity to succeed, to learn, and to be compensated fairly. A diverse workplace is beneficial to everyone and having a disability shouldn’t prevent people from finding a job. Companies have greater opportunities than ever before to bring in people with disabilities, as customers, clients, and employees.
Disability inclusion is also crucial to a company’s hiring process. Employers who do not have a disability inclusion policy risk losing qualified talent to companies that prioritize it. Companies must identify and change processes that support unconscious bias to make sure they are inclusive. Candidates with disabilities should not be discouraged from applying or limited in their capability to prove their skills through recruitment and hiring processes. Candidates won’t want to work for an organization if they encounter barriers during the application or interview process, or if they believe the business isn’t inclusive. In some cases, a workplace might need a few adjustments to ensure it is accessible and safe for an employee with a disability. Employers must make what is called ‘reasonable adjustments’ for a person with a disability who is offered a job or an existing employee to ensure they can access the job or the workplace.
Inclusion in the workplace is not only beneficial for people with disabilities and the community as a whole, but also for the company itself. By emphasizing skills rather than stereotypes, companies gain access to an untapped pool of talent as employees with diverse perspectives who have different approaches to problem-solving. Moreover, the amount of loyalty and enthusiasm among employees who feel included is higher, and customers value companies that demonstrate commitment to inclusion.
It is therefore important that companies recognize that people with disabilities are productive, reliable employees who contribute benefits to the workplace and consider a diverse workforce that includes people with disabilities as a core value.
Remember, everyone, benefits from an inclusive workplace, not just those with a disability. Together we can make the world a better place for everyone.