For many disabled Canadians, finding meaningful employment can be challenging. In fact, those with disabilities consistently face low levels of employment on top of educational, economic and social barriers. Employers who hire those with disabilities often have to make accommodations and/or provide extra support. But this is should not be a deterrent for employers to hire a person with disabilities.
While the government has implemented measures to ensure Canadians with disabilities are given the opportunity to participate in the workforce, there is still much work to be done. Yes Employment Services Director of Operations Jordie Leggett says, “People with disabilities have much to contribute and can have a positive impact on the workplace. Individuals with a disability are just as capable as individuals without a disability. People with disabilities are focused on finding the “right fit” for them in terms of a job. When matched with the right job, people with disabilities are more likely to stay in that job long-term. Employees with disabilities are excellent problem solvers, stable workers, safer in the workplace and more productive.”
Leggett adds that it’s important for employers to hire those with disabilities to demonstrate to that they recognize an individual for their strengths and can overlook their disabilities. “Employers must ensure they are promoting and encouraging inclusion in the workforce.”
When it comes to hiring people with disabilities, Leggett explains that employers sometimes focus on the disability itself and not the capabilities of an individual. “Often people with disabilities are overlooked for a job, simply because employers believe they are not capable. It’s also possible that employers are not aware of accommodations or assistive devices, which will allow a person with a disability to be as capable on-the-job as a person without a disability. For example, employers can provide magnified computer screens for an individual who is visually impaired or a stool for a cashier who is unable to stand for long periods. Those with disabilities apply to jobs they believe they are qualified for and capable of succeeding at.”
When it comes to accommodations in the workplace, employers often have a misconception. Job accommodations are supports that help employees to do their best work, though employers may find the idea of reasonable accommodations intimidating. Accommodations could be as simple as including an ergonomic workstation for an employee with back issues, text phones or video relay services for deaf or hard of hearing employees or using photos or visuals around the workplace instead of written signs for employees with a learning disability. Most employers can easily provide job accommodations that often cost less than $500.
It’s important to note that people with disabilities often make reliable employees. In fact, studies have shown that employees with disabilities are more aware and conscientious of safety in the workplace. They have average to above-average attendance and take fewer sick days, which means they are more likely to say on the job longer than employees without disabilities.
Leggett adds, “Training new employees is often costly and the fact is, if employers are going to put the money into training new employees, they want to ensure that new staff are going to stay. If people with disabilities are more likely to stay in a job long-term, it is beneficial for an employer to hire an individual with a disability, as it is more cost-effective when it comes to training.”
Why are diversity and inclusivity important in the workplace? Simply put, it encourages creativity and makes individuals feel included and valued. It also sparks more ideas and innovation. Research reveals that inclusive practices help to:
- reduce turnover;
- improve attendance and safety records;
- engage employees and boost company morale; and
- outperform in terms of revenue growth.
Diversity in the workplace is essential because it allows for companies to adopt new ways of working. Employees without disabilities also develop a deeper understanding and empathy toward employees with a disability and may see ways to make their workplace even more inclusive or accessible.
For more information on diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, contact Yes Employment Services Inc. at 705-476-3234 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the organization’s website.