Todays guest blog comes from Simon Barnett who writes for Disability Sanctuary, an online community for disabled people and their carers. Here is his take on why employers should be looking to employ disabled people:
For those with disabilities, entering the workplace can sometimes seem like a daunting challenge. Finding employment can be difficult and there may be obvious concerns about the daily difficulties that may be present within the workplace.
It’s easy to forget that many employers will also have concerns. Will an employee with a disability be able to perform a role effectively? Will it be necessary to make specific alterations to working practices, in order to take that disability into account? How should the subject be broached and what’s the best way to ensure that the employee is suitably supported?
The reactions of employers
Given the potential difficulties that exist, it should probably come as no surprise to learn than some employers simply aren’t geared up for employing those with disabilities. There is a lack of understanding and awareness in some cases.
In general terms, larger organisations might be expected to have a suitable support regime in place, supported by suitable policies. That’s not always the case, however, and some disabled people do feel that such support is lacking.
This is an issue that might be expected in smaller businesses, where time and money may be in short supply. Although there are various financial incentives available, the truth is that some employers will always take what is perceived as being an easier route. As a result, however, they are often missing out.
The advantages of an inclusive approach
Policy-makers often talk in terms of ensuring that those with disabilities are able to find work. There’s a recognition that this is not an easy task, but there’s far less consideration of the fact that employers who fail to appoint those with disabilities, or even consider them, may be taking exceedingly bad business decisions.
The reality is that we all, as employees, offer an approach that stems from our own personal experiences. It might be said that this is something that separates us from robots. It’s those personal stories that matter, when constructing a team. For the employer, there is a clear benefit associated with embracing a greater level of diversity.
But this ignores a broader truth: if, as an employer, you are failing to consider those with disabilities, then you are missing out on recruiting highly motivated, intelligent and productive individuals. It’s a decision that may also have further ramifications.
Without the unique perspective that might be offered by such an individual, are you really doing all that you can to cater for potential customers and clients who may also have disabilities? If you are taking a very limited view, then there’s a strong chance that you are failing to engage with your entire customer base effectively. That’s an issue that was covered in real detail within an excellent guest post on this site.
Reading through our own community forums, it becomes clear that many people with disabilities often feel disenchanted about the levels of service that they receive and the lack of basic consideration. Is there a chance that your own business is making many of these same mistakes? How many customers might you be losing as a result?
Adopting a more inclusive, rounded approach to finding employees is likely to have real benefits. It will open up your business, allowing you to discover highly skilled individuals who might otherwise have been neglected. It will also allow your business to have a different perspective, ensuring that you can expand your customer base.
There may be challenges associated with the employment process, but these are minor, when compared to the numerous advantages that are available to you. Seek out those who can help to transform your business.
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