Why Businesses Should Consider Hiring People With Disabilities

Why Businesses Should Consider Hiring People With Disabilities

Whether you are a business owner, hiring manager, or someone else attempting to find the best employee to fill your open positions, you have a vision of the perfect candidate. The person who fills your vacancy needs the right skills and needs to be a good fit for your organization. You have no intention of excluding any potential candidate who meets the job qualifications.

But have you thought much about hiring people with disabilities? About offering work opportunities for the blind and disabled? If not, you are missing out on a chance to make a big social impact while improving your bottom line.

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we want to shed light on this often-overlooked group of potential employees. Public discourse on diversity, equity and inclusion often excludes people with disabilities even though becoming disabled is the only minority group anyone could join at any time. With 61 million American adults who live with a disability (1 in every 4 adults), and an employment landscape struggling to fill open positions, there is great opportunity for businesses to draw from this largely untapped labor pool (only 12.6 percent of people with disabilities are employed).

Disability inclusion is good for business.

Putting more people with disabilities to work would boost the U.S. economy by an estimated $25 billion. Individual businesses benefit as well. Companies actively looking to include people with disabilities in their organizations had:

  • 28 percent higher revenue

  • Double the net income

  • 30 percent higher economic profit margins

Concerns about the cost of accommodations may prevent some companies from hiring these employees. But accommodations for employees with disabilities can be simple, inexpensive, or may not be needed at all. The cost for employers to accommodate a disabled employee is nominal.

  • 56 percent of accommodations cost nothing

  • 39 percent of accommodations had a one-time cost

  • Average cost of one-time accommodation is just $500

Low-cost accommodations make a big impact.

Workplace accommodations benefit more than just disabled employees. Most workplace technology and equipment improve efficiency and decrease stress. Some examples include: 

  • Trackball mouse

  • Ergonomic keyboard

  • Larger buttons or text on equipment

  • A cart with wheels to move large items

  • Grip aids on dry erase markers

  • Memory aids such as timers or written reminders

  • Remotes that turn off appliances, lights, radios or computers

  • Telephone auto-dialer

  • Colored labeling

  • Large-print materials

  • Recorded video or audio meetings

  • An adjustable desk

Employers who offer opportunities for the blind and disabled also find other direct and indirect benefits. A recent DePaul University study found that employees with disabilities worked hard, stayed loyal and were reliable. Providing accommodations also increased attendance, increased employee and company productivity, and helped retain valuable employees. Retaining employees reduces the business cost of training for new employees. More than half of the employers in the study found that accommodations also improved interactions with coworkers and boosted company morale.

Employing people with disabilities is not difficult. It does not burden employers, and it has a big social impact. When given the right tools and support, employees with disabilities will work hard to help you achieve your business objectives.

Make sure you do not miss the “I” in DEI by making an effort to provide work opportunities for the blind and disabled. Visit our business resource page to learn more about how people with disabilities could help your business succeed.