Employing people living with disability has benefits for both the employer and the employee.
A diverse workforce can improve workplace culture, productivity and employee retention rates.
What's more, employees living with disability tend to bring highly valuable problem-solving skills to the workplace and often make strong connections with customers.
In Australia, a person living with a disability is twice as likely to be unemployed compared to a person without a disability.
As the Australian workforce continues to evolve and face new challenges, employers who hire a diverse range of skilled people stand to benefit both socially and economically.
A wide range of studies has shown that employing people living with a disability makes good business sense and improving disability inclusion in the workplace benefits everyone.
Here are 8 benefits of employing someone with a disability:
1. Hire the right person for the job
The top benefit of employing someone with a disability is that they might be the perfect person for the job.
Like anyone else, people who are living with a health condition or disability bring their own unique set of strengths, skills and qualities to the workplace.
In the right job, people with a disability perform as well as any other employee, and often they bring additional strengths to the role as the benefits below demonstrate.
2. Attract a wider talent pool
Around 1 in 6 people in Australia live with a disability.
By having an inclusive recruitment process, employers can attract a wider range of people when looking to fill a position.
When employers consider disability inclusion as part of their recruitment process, it opens the door to a wider talent pool, a diverse range of job candidates and higher levels of employee satisfaction.
When everyone is invited to apply for a position, it helps employees feel included and supported from the very beginning.
3. Reliability and employee retention
Studies have shown that employees with disability take fewer days off work, take less sick leave and stay longer in a job compared to other employees.
Most employers aim for lower turnover and higher retention rates as part of their long-term business strategy, both for financial and social benefits.
Therefore, employing people who are living with a disability makes good business sense.
4. Create a healthier workplace
Workplaces that employ people with disability tend to have a better understanding of workplace accommodations and reasonable adjustments.
Even small changes in the workplace can have significant benefits for the health, well-being and productivity of all employees.
Having a workplace culture where accommodations are the norm helps all employees feel safe and supported at work, and also leads to better work conditions and better work performance.
5. Encourage a culture of problem-solving
Many people who are living with a disability or health condition have excellent problem-solving skills.
Often they've been solving problems, finding workarounds and discovering solutions their whole life.
When people with disability bring problem-solving skills to the workplace, it can have a positive impact on the whole team.
Employees that have good problem-solving skills tend to be more tenacious and resilient when they encounter challenges in the workplace.
6. Financial incentives
Australian employees may be eligible for funding when employing a person with a disability or when making reasonable adjustments in the workplace for an employee with a disability.
For example, the Employment Assistance Fund provides financial support for some types of workplace accommodations.
These can include making physical adjustments to the workplace, purchasing special equipment and communication devices or conducting disability awareness training for the workplace.
7. Strong connections with customers
For most companies, making strong connections with customers, clients and collaborators is an important part of the business.
Hiring the right people can give a business an edge over competitors.
People with disability often make strong and meaningful connections with customers, encouraging repeat business.
What's more, having a diverse workforce can help a company better understand their target audience, or attract business from a more diverse audience.
8. Boost business reputation
Employing a diverse workforce, including people living with disability, can boost the reputation of an organisation.
When an organisation is known for being inclusive and for valuing diversity, it can have a positive impact on how the community feels about the organisation.
Employing people with disability not only improves an organisation's reputation in the eyes of customers and investors but will also attract more talent.
In general, people want to work in an inclusive workplace and feel happier and more fulfilled when the workplace is diverse.
Support for employing people with disability
The benefits of employing someone with a disability can be life-changing for both employers and employees.
If you are an employer, you can get support from APM to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
Find out more about how to hire someone living with an injury, illness or disability.
Jobseekers living with injury, illness or disability can get support to find work and stay in a job through Disability Employment Services.
A local Disability Employment Services provider can help with finding employment opportunities, applying for work, accessing workplace modifications and more.
Find out if you're eligible today. Call APM on 1800 276 276.