The number of U.S. businesses that are making it a corporate priority to hire people with disabilities is on the rise … and for good reason. Savvy businesses keenly understand that recruiting highly trained and dedicated people with disabilities is one of the smartest hiring strategies they can employ.
As president and CEO of Ability Beyond, a nonprofit headquartered in Bethel, Connecticut, and Chappaqua, New York, I am fortunate to witness the incredible impact that our residential living, transitional, day programs and employment services have on more than 3,000 people with disabilities we serve annually. Last year, we’ve supported more than 1,000 people with disabilities by training them for fulfilling work opportunities, providing job placement assistance and helping them maintain their jobs for the long-term.
One such success is David, who was matched with Mount Kisco Stop & Shop. When spring Covid-19 cases spiked, David went into overdrive, eagerly saying “yes” to all tasks despite stressed customers and an array of new protocols. His managers recently reached out to us saying, “I know nobody is perfect, but David is OUR perfect.”
Hiring someone with disabilities isn’t charity, it’s actually one of the smartest things you can do for your bottom line. Here are four of the many reasons why integrating employees like David into your hiring plan makes good business sense:
- Move the needle on your key HR benchmarks.
Across our client base, we’ve moved the needle on key HR benchmarks, including an average 14% higher retention rate. The reason is simple: The individuals we place are motivated, eager and prescreened for the position. Employees we place also receive continued job training and counseling from Ability Beyond – at no cost to the employer – for 90 days as they acclimate to the job.
Employers we’ve worked with have also noted a 53% higher rate of self-identification, significantly decreased time to fill key positions and a greater range of diversity within disability including 21% veterans with disabilities.
- The process is much, much simpler than you think.
Working with a nonprofit disability employment service such as Ability Beyond can help you ensure the right fit and for both employee and employer and navigate the nuances of ADA compliance. It’s our goal to make the transition for both you – and your new employee – as simple as possible.
- It simply makes cents.
If the prior reasons weren’t compelling enough, we’ve seen firsthand that people with disabilities – the largest diversity group in the world – are fiercely loyal to companies who value diversity and inclusion. According to the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 87 percent of the public would rather do business with companies that hire people with disabilities. And with one in ten Americans living with a substantial disability, creating a workforce that is reflective of your customer base can help your business tap into their immense $645 billion annual spending power in the U.S.
- Different perspectives drive innovation.
Let’s face it. If a person has a physical or mental disability, they are plenty accustomed to having to figure out innovative ways to do things differently to accommodate their ability. These very same individuals can bring their unique problem-solving abilities to the table and offer a different perspective to some of your biggest business challenges.
With these perspectives, you can see why including people with disabilities into your hiring plan is a win-win for all involved.
Jane Davis is president and CEO of Ability Beyond. For decades, Ability Beyond has worked toward transforming the employment landscape for the people we serve. With both our employment services and our Disability Solutions consulting practice, we have leveraged over 60 years of employment experience to source qualified talent within Connecticut and New York and consult nationally with companies to recruit, train and retain workers with disabilities. For more information, visit abilitybeyond.org.