Why Hire People with Disabilities?
Employers, like people in general, may have misperceptions about people with disabilities. For example, some employers see hiring someone with disabilities as an act of charity — when in fact, research has shown employees with disabilities to be an asset to workplaces.
One study of 16 companies showed that employees with disabilities had “low absenteeism rates and long tenures. (The companies) also described their employees with disabilities as loyal, reliable and hardworking.” In the same study, employers rated the job performance of employees with disabilities as equal in quality to the performance of employees without disabilities.
Similarly, a review of 24 studies found, “employer ratings have indicated that workers with disabilities have average or above-average performance, safety records and attendance.”
Also, it’s worth noting that about 1 in 5 people in the U.S. has a disability, so actively seeking to include people with disabilities in your workforce helps to build a stronger relationship with millions of families.
How to Hire People with Disabilities
A few practical considerations may be useful to keep in mind before adding to your company’s assets by hiring employees with disabilities.
- Many people with disabilities receive support from a job coach, whose role ranges from employment training to help with finding work. If a person has a significant disability, a job coach may be interested in developing a relationship with that person’s employer. Job coaches generally work for agencies in the social service system. For more information, please contact Georgia’s statewide Vocational Rehabilitation program: https://gvra.georgia.gov/vocational-rehabilitation-program-locations.
- Many employers assume that hiring people with disabilities requires paying for expensive accomodations. But the federal Job Accomodation Network found that 57 percent of job accomodations bear no cost, and the average cost for others is around $500. For more information on accomodations and many other topics — such as disability etiquette — see askjan.org.
- The federal Employer Assistance Resource Network offers free resources to help employers recruit, hire, retain and advance employees with disabilities — including information from employers who have hired people with disabilities. See askearn.org.