Do you want to hire someone to fill an open role at your company? Are you having a hard time finding the perfect person? Consider hiring a disabled person. It may not be easy at first, but there are many ways your company can benefit.
When you think of someone with a disability, you probably think of someone in a wheelchair or maybe with a missing limb. But disability is a huge spectrum, and there are some disabled people who don't look the part. Some disabled people can do a lot of the same things as an abled bodied person in the same way. Of course, other things may require accommodations, but not all disabled people are incapable of work.
Depending on the roles you need to fill, a disabled person may not need any special tools. And even if they do, they might not need as much help as you expect. So while you shouldn't pry every applicant for how disabled they are, you should consider that not all disability is the same.
If you refuse to hire disabled people, you can cut your company off from some of the most talented people. Unfortunately, many disabled people are unemployed. Companies don't want to give them a chance to work, so that means you can have a better chance of hiring an excellent person for the job. Sure, that person may need a bit of help, but you can bring on more talented staff when you open up your jobs to disabled people.
Technology can help disabled people do the work, so you may not even need to help them directly. Blind people, for example, can use voice assistants to read web pages or messages. People in wheelchairs can work at their desks, and you can even save money by not needing to give them an office chair.
A lot of people don't understand disability because they're never around it. If you grew up without disabled classmates or neighbors, it can be easy to think of it as scary or foreign. By employing a disabled person, you can bring diversity to your office. You and your other employees can learn from the disabled person about disability in general and their specific condition. Then, disability won't feel as scary when you encounter it in public.
Bringing in a diverse team of employees can also make people feel good. You can all share your different experiences on work or personal topics. However, don't hire someone with a disability just to say you hired someone with a disability. Avoid using someone as your "token" disabled person because that can look just as bad as not having any disabled employees.
If you're a manager and have been trying to get upper-level managers to redo your office, this could be your excuse. Some buildings aren't compliant with ADA regulations. What is ADA compliance? It's a set of rules that make a building accessible to disabled people. That could include everything from ramps or elevators to braille labels on doors and hallways and visual fire alarms.
Hiring a disabled person could be a good reason to push some construction along to make the building more accessible. That can help you hire future disabled employees and attract more disabled customers. While it can be a big expense, it can be worth it for companies looking to grow.
In the age of technology, many jobs are more flexible than in the past. Many people can work from home and still be just as productive, and that can be a great option for disabled employees. If someone can't get out of their house, they can still work like anyone else who may come into the office. You can also offer more flexibility to in-person employees, such as flexible schedules. That can be great for a disabled employee who has regular doctors' visits during the day and needs more evening shifts.
Many jobs don't have to be done in one specific way. That makes it easier to provide accommodations to disabled people so that they can do their job. Also, technology that helps with accessibility, such as Voiceover on Apple products, is free, so it won't even increase your expenses.
One great reason to hire disabled people is for specialized roles, such as chat support. Because chat support doesn't require talking or listening on the phone, it can be a great job for deaf people. Chat support roles can also be good for people with sensory issues or people who do best working alone. Blind people can help detect small changes in fabrics, which can be useful for fashion or clothing companies.
Consider if there are any jobs you need to fill that can utilize skills that disabled people have. The lack of one ability shouldn't deflect from any other skills, and disabled people can be just as productive when doing certain jobs.
One interesting fact about disabled workers is that they don't get in as many work-related accidents as able-bodied people. Disabled people tend to be more cautious, so they can take things slower to avoid injuries and other issues. If workplace safety is a concern, hiring some disabled people might help you start making the environment safer. You can then ask those employees to train other staff members on how to be safe.
While accidents and injuries will probably still happen, you want to do your best to reduce their likelihood. Hiring disabled people is an underrated way to make your office safer. And it's one more reason why you shouldn't ignore applications from disabled people.
Another interesting statistic to consider is that disabled people have a higher job retention rate than able-bodied people. According to a 2002 study, about 85 percent of disabled workers stayed at a job for one year. Abled bodied employees don't have that high of a retention rate, so hiring more disabled workers could improve your company's average. It can also reduce the costs associated with hiring new employees if fewer employees leave each year.
While disabled people may still leave the job you hire them for, it's interesting to consider the differences. If you're looking to reduce your employee turnover costs or increase company retention, hiring disabled people might be your best solution.
While there are many reasons to hire disabled employees, you should consider the financial benefits. The IRS lists a few tax credits and deductions that you can get if you hire disabled people. Small businesses can get the Disabled Access Credit if hiring a disabled worker increased some of their expenses in that particular year. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is available to businesses that hire disabled employees, and the amount you get depends on the length of that person's employment.
Hiring disabled employees also allows you to take the Barrier Removal Tax Deduction. You don't have to hire disabled people, but you can, and this deduction will affect any money you spend on making your office more accessible.
Hiring people for your business can be difficult, and you want to hire the best people possible. But many companies avoid hiring disabled people in fear of extra expenses and training. Luckily, there are many ways around this, and there are just as many good reasons to hire disabled people.
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