Many employers have concerns about hiring people with disabilities because they've never done it before.
But hiring any employee raises a certain amount of questions, doesn't it?
Here are some common concerns about hiring people with disabilities, and responses drawn from recent research findings:
Concern: We don't want to sacrifice our standards.
Fact: The concept is to hire people who can do just as good a job. People with disabilities can do this if they have the right support. And you have a bigger pool of people to choose from.
Concern: This may create an uncomfortable dynamic with other employees:
Fact: It may require training, but everyone will benefit. Reports show that employees are happier in inclusive workplaces.
Concern: Could this affect our bottom line?
Fact: Research has found improved business success and more satisfied customers!
Concern: Charity is nice, but we can do it in other ways.
Fact: This is not charity; it's good business sense! Many successful companies do this specifically to improve their bottom line.
Concern: Will I have more injuries or pay more in health insurance?
Fact: Reports say neither of these are true.
In the meantime, click the button below to hear from employers who have hired PWD:
Leadership team believed in providing the same standards, same work, same pay, and same performance measures to individuals with disabilities
People with disabilities (PWD) comprise 46% of he workforce of the Windsor, CT distribution
PWD comprise 38% of the Anderson, SC distribution center
Walgreens has since expanded this same concept to its retail division
Advice: "Look at the hiring of individuals with [intellectual and developmental disabilities] not through the lens of a charitable activity but a strategy that is integral to business."
Holland & Knight LLP
Started working with Best Buddies Employment Program in 1994
Employee Barbara "rarely misses a day for illness or appointments. She wants to come to work."
Partner Robert Friedman noted that employer adjustments and accommodations were not found to be problematic, and that employees with disabilities "are fulfilling an need in our organization."
Advice for other companies: "It's a lot easier that you think it's going to be."
Fifth Third Bank
Hired 26 individuals with disabilities through training programs modeled on Project SEARCH
The bank has not created special jobs for applicants who received job training through this program; all employees with disabilities applied for, interviewed, and went through the hiring process just like anyone else.
Responsibilities include: working in the operations center, handling loan and credit card processing, customer service, mail operations, commercial operations
Advice to other companies: "Learn how to communicate with employees. Find stories of success and put them on billboards, in newsletters, in emails. Spread the word."
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Uses a "person-centered approach" to integrating employees with intellectual disabilities into their offices.
They were unsure of how much time would be dedicated to managing the employees to ensure their success, but didn't view the uncertainty as a barrier.
Employees with disabilities "are all highly visible and active members of our local offices, which has been critical to their individual development and success."
What we've learned: "They have become an integral part of ... our day to day business operations."
Silicon Valley Bank
Roles include mail delivery, kitchen stocking, printer maintenance, filing, organizing conference rooms
What we've learned: "They're in level-appropriate positions, doing real work and getting paid competitive wages."
Look at this webpage to see more Myths and Myth Rebuttals: Making A Difference Works.
We'll you more later in this Guide. (See the section on Laws and Regulations.)
Sources: Institute for Corporate Productivity,Disability Compendium, Kessler Foundation