Disability Inclusion in the Workplace: Why It Matters
Learn about the importance of including people with disabilities in company DEIA plans and efforts.
If you’re an employer new to understanding the role disability plays in workplace diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA), you may be looking for general guidance and background on the what, why and how of making your organization more welcoming and accessible to applicants and employees with disabilities.
Consider this your starting point for understanding how hiring workers with disabilities can benefit your business and increase workplace diversity–and how EARN can help.
Frequently Asked Questions about Workplace Disability Inclusion
Why should employers care about creating a disability-inclusive workplace?
EARN is on a mission to help employers weave disability into their DEIA plans and efforts. Why? Because people with disabilities are the largest minority group in the world, and recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing workers with disabilities is good for America and good for business. If people with disabilities are not included in your organization's DEIA plan, then your plan is incomplete.
Employers everywhere are learning that businesses inclusive of people with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities, benefit from a wider pool of talent, skills and creative business solutions. They’re also recognizing disability diversity as an important way to tap into a growing market, since people with disabilities represent the third largest market segment in the U.S. So, by proactively employing people with disabilities, businesses can gain a better understanding of how to meet the needs of this important and expanding customer base.
What skillsets do employees with disabilities bring to the workforce?
The answer is as diverse as the skillsets of any other candidates. People with disabilities may also offer employers a competitive edge, helping diversify and strengthen their workplaces through varied perspectives on how to confront challenges and get the job done. They bring creativity, innovation, problem solving and commitment to the workplace. Studies have shown that employees with disabilities stay at jobs longer, thus reducing the time and cost involved in retraining and replacing personnel.
What are some other benefits of hiring people with disabilities?
Other benefits reported by businesses include improvement in productivity and morale and increased workplace diversity. And these benefits can have a real impact on a company’s bottom line. In October 2018, Accenture, in partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN, released “Getting To Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage (PDF),” a report that revealed that companies that embrace best practices for employing and supporting people with disabilities in their workforces consistently outperform their peers, including having, on average, 28% higher revenue, double the net income and 30% higher economic profit margins.
What does it mean to be disability-inclusive?
There are numerous characteristics associated with disability-friendly companies, and what’s often surprising to employers is that most inclusion practices geared toward employees and job seekers with disabilities have the added bonus of benefiting everyone. Some common characteristics of disability-inclusive companies include, but are not limited to, the following:
For more information about these seven core components of a disability-inclusive organization, and a menu of strategies for achieving them, visit the Inclusion@Work Framework for Building a Disability-Inclusive Organization or “Including Disability in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Priorities: Building a Maturity Model."