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Employing People with Disabilities: Why Should You Care?

By Rich Wellins, Ph.D.

Richard S. Wellins, Ph.D.

A startling 85 percent of adults with development disabilities do not have a paid job in their community! And, this number is for the United States only—it is far worse in many other countries. The waste of talent of this special population is nothing short of a crime. I have a son with some challenges, so that makes me passionate about this topic. For five years following graduation, my son was unable to find any meaningful work. A year ago, he landed a part-time job working with an agency whose sole purpose is to match people with disabilities to open positions. His work has changed his life and has added immense value to his employer.

i4cp, (Institute for Corporate Productivity), a human capital research firm, recently partnered with Best Buddies and several corporate sponsors to prepare a report entitled Employing People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Some high-level findings:

  • Employers' pre-conceived negative concerns about hiring people with disabilities averaged 42 percent higher than the challenges they actually experienced once they employed them.
  • 75 percent or more of employers rate workers with disabilities as good to very good on multiple performance factors. The performance profile of workers with disabilities, it turns out, closely matches that of the ideal employee.
  • High performing organizations are 37 percent more likely to hire people with disabilities because they are good talent matches.

We urge HR professionals around the world to accelerate a culture that promotes and encourages participation of those with disabilities in their workforces. Why?

  1. Those with disabilities are an essential ingredient to any overall diversity effort, such as gender or cultural diversity. Each brings with them unique perspectives and talents.
  2. In many companies, legislation legally requires that a certain percent of the workforce have a disability. In the United States this especially applies to those doing business with the federal government.
  3. It’s the right thing to do for any organization serious about corporate social responsibility.
  4. It is, as the report shows, good for your business.

Thanks, i4cp, for allowing us to share.

Rich Wellins, Ph.D., is a senior vice president at DDI.

Posted: 22 Dec, 2015,
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