The Benefits of Hiring Someone with a Disability
Hiring someone with a disability can be a smart business decision that brings various benefits to your company, such as:
- Improved productivity and profitability
- Competitive advantage and innovation
- Inclusive work culture and diversity
- Ability awareness and empathy
- Customer loyalty and brand enhancement
- Tax incentives and deductions
- Low turnover and high retention
Let’s explore each of these benefits in more detail.
Improved productivity and profitability
People with disabilities have been solving problems their whole life and tend to bring a strong sense of loyalty to the workplace. Effective job matching fits the employee’s abilities to the employers’ needs. The right person in the right job makes everyone more productive1.
According to a systematic review of the literature, hiring people with disabilities can result in increased productivity, reduced costs, improved quality, and higher profits2. Moreover, many workplace accommodations cost nothing or very little to make, and often result in benefits such as reduced insurance and training costs3.
Competitive advantage and innovation
People with disabilities can offer your company a competitive edge by bringing diverse perspectives, skills, and talents to your team. They can also help you tap into new markets and customer segments that value disability inclusion.
Many large corporations, such as CVS and Microsoft, have shared their stories about how hiring people with disabilities has improved their overall bottom line and innovation. Leaders from Microsoft and Merck have said they focus on hiring a workforce that reflects their consumer base, which includes people with disabilities4.
Inclusive work culture and diversity
Disability is diversity, and therefore a key component of workplace diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). Hiring people with disabilities can help you create an inclusive work environment that encourages empathy, respect, collaboration, and social responsibility.
Research has shown that diverse teams perform better, generate more creative ideas, and foster higher employee engagement and satisfaction4. Hiring people with disabilities can also help you comply with laws such as Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects the employment rights of people with disabilities3.
Ability awareness and empathy
Hiring people with disabilities can help you raise awareness and understanding of disability issues among your staff, customers, and stakeholders. It can also help you challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about people with disabilities.
By working alongside people with disabilities, your employees can learn to appreciate their abilities, strengths, and contributions. They can also develop empathy and compassion for people who face different challenges and barriers in life.
Customer loyalty and brand enhancement
Hiring people with disabilities can help you improve your reputation and image as a socially responsible and inclusive employer. It can also help you attract and retain loyal customers who value disability inclusion.
According to a survey by Nielsen, 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact4. By hiring people with disabilities, you can demonstrate your commitment to DEIA and social good.
Tax incentives and deductions
Hiring people with disabilities can also qualify you for tax incentives and deductions from the federal government. These include:
- The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which provides employers with a tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring individuals from certain target groups, including veterans with service-connected disabilities and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients.
- The Disabled Access Credit (DAC), which provides small businesses with a tax credit of up to $5,000 for making their facilities or services more accessible to people with disabilities.
- The Barrier Removal Tax Deduction (BRTD), which allows businesses of any size to deduct up to $15,000 for removing architectural or transportation barriers for people with disabilities3.
Low turnover and high retention
People with disabilities are reliable employees and have an overall higher job retention rate. Many studies have shown that people with disabilities take less absent days, and that they are more likely to stay on the job longer than non-disabled workers5.
Hiring people with disabilities can help you reduce turnover costs, which can include recruitment, training, lost productivity, and customer dissatisfaction. It can also help you build a loyal and stable workforce that contributes to your long-term success.
How to Hire People with Disabilities
If you are interested in hiring qualified people with disabilities for your company, there are many organizations and resources that can support your DEIA efforts. Here are some examples:
- The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a free, nationwide service that educates employers about effective strategies for recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing people with disabilities. EARN also maintains a list of job posting websites geared toward job seekers with disabilities.
- The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a free resource that connects private businesses and federal agencies nationwide with qualified job candidates for temporary or permanent positions in a variety of fields. Applicants are highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workforce.
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides free, expert advice on workplace accommodations that may be necessary to assist qualified individuals with disabilities apply for a job and maximize their productivity once onboard.
- The Campaign for Disability Employment offers a variety of media assets, such as video public service announcements, all designed to encourage employers and others to recognize the value and talent people with disabilities add to America’s workplaces and economy. Employers can use these resources in the workplace to help spark conversations about disability issues3.
For more information and resources on hiring people with disabilities, you can visit the following websites:
- U.S. Department of Labor Disability Resources
- Employer Incentives for Hiring People with Disabilities: Federal Tax Incentives At-A-Glance
- Where Can I Find Qualified Applicants with Disabilities?
- Interviewing Job Candidates with Disabilities
Hiring someone with a disability can be a win-win situation for both your company and the employee. It can help you improve your productivity, profitability, innovation, culture, reputation, and retention. It can also help you create a more diverse, inclusive, and accessible workplace that benefits everyone.
If you are ready to hire someone with a disability, there are many resources and organizations that can help you find, recruit, and retain qualified candidates. By hiring someone with a disability, you can make a positive difference in your company and society.