The Great Attrition, inflation and a struggling economy have combined to make it difficult to hire and retain talented employees in today’s job market. According to McKinsey & Company, “inflation’s insidious progress” is upending economies across the globe and will continue to do so for some time. In this challenging environment, organizations must be innovative and creative to stay sufficiently staffed and achieve their goals.
When considering hiring new employees, remember that people with disabilities represent a sizable untapped resource.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2021, 19.1% of people with disabilities were employed – up from 17.9% in 2020. Despite this uptick, across all age groups those with disabilities were less likely to be employed than those without them. The same is true across all educational attainment groups.
A study by the Kessler Foundation in June of 2022 found that among those of working age in the U.S., over 5.5 million workers have disabilities. This represents 3.9% of the total workforce. These prospective employees have significant skills and a variety of experience, and can bring balance and cooperation.
At Allsup Employment Services (AES), our case managers help people find work after recovering or reaching stability following a disabling illness or injury. Through Social Security’s Ticket to Work (TTW) Program, beneficiaries can attempt a return to work while protecting their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Our clients demonstrate this valuable resource since they are resilient and have a lot to offer.
Here are three ways people with disabilities can make a difference in your organization:
- Increase Innovation. According to the 2022 Disability Equity Index, hiring those with disabilities can help stabilize a workplace in flux. Talented employees with disabilities bring unique work skills and perspectives that can advance innovation. The American Bar Association reports that when individuals advocate for accessible technology, for example, this accelerates innovation and can even lead to expanding client bases.
- Raise Profits. An Accenture study also revealed that companies that utilize best practices for employing and supporting people with disabilities outperformed their peers. Organizations that champion disability inclusion achieved revenue that was 28% percent higher, twice the net income, and had 30% higher profit margins during the four-year period they were analyzed, when compared to their peers. They also earned higher total shareholder returns compared to organizations who didn’t embrace these practices.
- Increase Diversity and Inclusion. General awareness of accessibility and accommodations are valuable because progress in these areas for people with disabilities makes a difference for both workers and customers. All workers benefit from a diverse work setting. Collaboration and teamwork are vital, and different ideas and perspectives facilitate problem-solving and achievement while diverse backgrounds encourage teams to think differently about their work, how they achieve organizational goals, and how to make their work setting more inclusive and accessible to all.
In my dealings with our clients over the years, I have found that people with disabilities often bring fresh perspectives that they apply toward business issues. Their determination and persistence in the face of life-changing medical conditions, especially recovering or stabilizing medically, is a transferable skill that serves them well in any role in any organization.
The value that workers with disabilities can bring to your business far outweighs any accommodation you may have to make for them. When considering new employees, organizations are missing out if they do not think about the talented population using the Ticket to Work Program. Hundreds of individuals are already contributing as productive, meaningful employees in businesses across the country. It’s time your company takes a closer look.