October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. What is this? This is to make sure that companies hire people who have disabilities. People aren’t being hired as a result of companies being scared. This is because they have a lot of misconceptions.
One of the misconceptions that companies have is that people with disabilities are lazy. This is not true at all. People with disabilities are willing to work hard. I knew several coworkers with a disability and they worked really hard.
- Always Late
Another misconception is that people with disabilities usually are late for work or call in late often. This is also wrong. Since people with disabilities usually take public transportation, they might be late because the bus or taxi might be late.
People with disabilities seem to be slow in getting things done, which is the last misconception. This might be true for some people with disabilities, but some people who do not have disabilities might be slow too. This is a generalization that simply is not a fair statement.
- Expand Your Talent Pool
Sometimes it seems almost impossible to find qualified candidates for a position. But if you start recruiting individuals with disabilities, it expands your talent pool so that you can find better candidates.
And according to Work without Limits, a network that aims to increase employment among individuals with disabilities, “Individuals with disabilities represent an untapped candidate pool for businesses. Recruiting and retaining people with disabilities are one approach to counter the effects of the aging and shrinking workforce.”
- Increase Your Loyal Workforce
People with disabilities want to work, and when they get the opportunity, they stay loyal. And according to a 2007 study from DePaul University, people with disabilities perform just the same as people without disabilities:
■Participants with disabilities from the retail and hospitality sectors stayed on the job longer than participants without disabilities.
■Across all sectors, participants with disabilities had fewer scheduled absences than those without disabilities.
■Retail participants with disabilities had fewer days of unscheduled absences than those without disabilities.
■Regardless of sector, participants with and without disabilities had nearly identical job performance ratings.
■The numbers of worker’s compensation claims of retail participants with and without disabilities were equivalent.
- Diversity is good for Business
As we’ve discussed before, diversity is good for business. When people who have diverse experiences work together, they can come up with creative solutions for problems because they have a better understanding of your customer base.
As an added bonus, people with disabilities have additional insight into your customers who have disabilities, which can help you tailor your products better. This is especially important in untapped markets where people with disabilities have not been focused on.
Plus, EARN reports, “Customers with disabilities and their families, friends and associates represent a trillion dollar market segment. They, like other market segments, purchase products and services from companies that best meet their needs. A large number of Americans also say they prefer to patronize businesses that hire people with disabilities.”