Being in HR, I’m sure you have seen and heard first-hand the latest push to hire and support people with disabilities on-the-job. It seems with every legislative session or meeting, there is a new standard put in place to make it easier for people with disabilities to find and retain employment. Businesses that have never considered hiring people with disabilities before may be a bit fearful of the process and unsure of where to start. It is easier than you think! Here are the top four things you need to know when hiring people with disabilities:
1) Reasonable accommodations are not as difficult as they appear!
To a business, reasonable accommodations can sound like an expensive mess, but really they can be very simple. First of all, what is a reasonable accommodation? Any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that allows an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job functions, or enjoy equal access to benefits available to other individuals in the workplace. Businesses that have never thought about accommodations before may immediately think of dollar signs – but the changes can be very simple! Think about a large print job application, or re-working some code on your company website so it’s accessible for people with disabilities. The accommodations needed on-the-job will vary, just like every candidate that applies for a job, so keep an open mind, knowing that the situation will be different for each job applicant.
2) People with disabilities are the hidden gems of the employment world.
People with disabilities tend to be very dedicated and passionate on-the-job. Of course that statement may be slightly generalized, but anyone who works with the disability community could probably tell you that very fact. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study, workers with disabilities had an 80 percent lower turnover rate than those without. Having those employees stay on longer decreases training costs and also increases morale.
3) Get your staff on-board and updated on your new hires.
This is the most important bullet point on this list – let your staff know about your new employees and/or your reasonable accommodations. Employees always like to be in the know about upcoming situations, and their buy-in could help everyone get acclimated with the new situation. Be careful though, as you should not tell employees about anyone’s disability; simply introduce your new procedures or plans to the entire office so everyone feels like they are being included.
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4) Your business could qualify for tax breaks!
There are three different tax credits/breaks that your business could qualify for after hiring a person with a disability: the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Disabled Access Tax Credit and Barrier Removal Tax Deduction. Not sure what you could utilize? All three can be found in detail in this previous Blogging4Jobs post.
Hiring people with disabilities is easier now than ever before! With plenty of resources available online, businesses should look towards the future of disability and employment. Making simple accommodations could create dedicated and passionate employees, who in return increase the morale of your business. Hiring people with disabilities is a win-win situation!