Approximately 1 in 5 Americans — about 54 million people — has a disability, according to the United States Census Bureau. This means you likely know a number of people with disabilities, whether you realize it or not.
While some disabilities are apparent when interacting with someone, many are not instantly recognizable. Disabilities can be intellectual, physical, sensory, learning-related and more.
Individuals with disabilities are sometimes limited in how they can perform certain tasks. However, having a disability also can also cause these individuals to build different skill sets and strengthen other areas of their performance.
Here are three reasons a disabled individual could be the best addition to your team.
1. Disabled Employees are Dedicated Employees
Industry reports consistently show employees with disabilities have average or above average performance. This includes:
- Quality and quantity of work
- Flexibility to demands
Disabled employees also have higher retention rates and company loyalty when compared to the general workforce, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Not only is this good for productivity and company culture, but it also saves businesses money on turnover costs.
2. Disability Inclusion Fosters Innovation
The benefit to hiring and setting disabled employees up for success in your organization isn’t just a more dedicated, productive workforce — it’s also a more creative and innovative workforce.
Because disabled employees deal with different challenges on a daily basis than non-disabled employees, they have unique life experiences that mold their perspectives and ways of thinking. This affects the way they consider problems and approach situations, which often translates into more innovative solutions and idea generation. The diversity of thought this brings to an organization can be invaluable.
This also fosters creativity throughout an organization. Working alongside people with various strengths, skills and experiences encourages all employees to learn from each other and promotes out-of-the-box thinking.
3. “Reasonable Accommodations” Cost Much Less Than You Think
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. Some employers worry this will cost their organization more money than if they were to hire a non-disabled employee.
In reality, more than 80 percent of accommodations cost a company less than $100. In fact, 73 percent of employers found that they did not need to make any accommodations for their employees with disabilities, according to the Association for Talent Development (ATD).
And for those concerned about being sued by disabled employees? The ATD also reports that disabled employees are less likely to file a claim against an employer than any age, race or gender group.
Hire a disabled employee, and you have a lot to gain.
Get SHRM’s ADA Reasonable Accommodations Checklist.