Your Guide to Hiring People with Disability(PWD)

15% of the world's total population are disabled. You are missing talent if you don't hire people with disability.

Everyone, including people with disabilities, has to be viewed and treated equally, especially in the business world. Yes, there are many well-educated and qualified applicants without special needs, but PWDs can also match their qualifications. However, many companies still overlook their abilities and focus on their disabilities when in fact, if given a chance, they could have the equitable opportunity to perform and excel.

Disability is a big dimension in the area of Diversity and inclusion. Employers must consider a lot of factors when hiring disabled applicants, but instead, discrimination takes place because they do not view PWDs as their equals. Some employers have the tendency to see PWDs as a group of people who are inferior to them, and we know that it is an incorrect perception, and it is our responsibility to correct them.

Well, what are the good things about hiring people with disabilities? and Why is providing equity to people with disabilities is important?

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Advantages of Hiring People with Disabilities

First of all, they pay closer attention to detail. Because when one or two of their senses are absent, all of their remaining senses make up for it. For example, people who are visually challenged can have a heightened sense of hearing. The brain actually devotes itself to focus on all of the remaining sensory information whenever a sense is lost.

Your disabled employee will also have better insights into how your company can better serve other people with disabilities. Remember that a total of 15% of the world’s total population are disabled, so understanding what they prefer and how they perceive will affect your company positively.

Disabled people are also extremely productive, and they have a greater retention rate for employees. Indeed, they will be exceptional assets for your company! You will also be helping them have regular jobs that will ultimately benefit the public, community, branding, and media relations!

  • increase innovation
  • improve productivity
  • reduce turnover
  • enhance job performance and work quality
  • attract the best and brightest employees
  • increase company morale
  • increase employee satisfaction and engagement
  • improve attendance
  • improve safety records
  • outperform in revenue growth
  • gain access to more diverse markets and customers

Employee Accommodation for People with Disabilities

For instances where companies give PWDs the chance to work for them, they will need special accommodations for them to perform their best at work. The employer will play a role in providing them with supplemental technologies.

For this to take place, the employee will be assessed by their healthcare provider or an Occupational Therapist (OC). The Occupational Therapist will identify and recommend the required workplace adjustments that will make the employee with a disability more comfortable in working.

Note that for every employee with disability, a different accommodation might be required. This mainly depends on their specific type of disability. As a result, the company should work closely together with the employee with disability for accommodations that meet their specific needs.

Visually Challenged Employees

Visually challenged individuals need accommodation in the form of a screen reader. This is necessary so that they can have access to the computer. The technology reads the information on the computer screen so that the impaired employee will know what is on the computer screen.

If the employee has a dual-sensory impairment, such as being deafblind, they might require a refreshable Braille that goes hand in hand with the screen reader. This will turn the text on the screen into embossed dots on a refreshable finger pad.

For those who are not completely blind but have trouble with their vision, magnification software might be required. Although there is already a magnification app built into a computer’s operating system, a separate magnification software could be needed.

Employees with Hearing Conditions

For milder cases where employees have trouble hearing soft sounds, hearing aids could already be sufficient for them to continue working without any hassle. However, some employees cannot hear at all, so they need special attention.

They might need an audio content that can be transformed into alternative formats, usually written. They also need special accommodations during meetings in the form of a scribe where they can take notes. Instant messaging or a voice recognition software are also great options to communicate with them accurately.

Another great technology that they might need is a real-time caption service. It is connected to the phone or the internet, and it automatically types whatever it hears.

A TTY (Text Telephone / Teletypewriter) is another tool that could improve their performance at work. They will have the option to communicate with their workmates by using a telephone. TTYs have the ability to interpret both sounds and sign language; they display the interpretation on a computer screen.

Although some people with hearing loss can read lips, doing so will only decrease their productivity because instead of focusing on their work, they have to look at who’s talking and interpret what they are trying to say. Also, it is not always accurate, so it would be better to give them the accommodation they deserve.

Employees with Cognitive Disabilities

Employees with cognitive disabilities vary from person-to-person. However, the use of assistive technologies to aid in their work is less likely to be needed because they can function well independently. What could be required are job accommodations.

The employer has to be responsible for hiring mentally challenged individuals in the sense that they have to align the appropriate work duties to the capacity of the employee’s comprehension. But don’t worry because, with the proper training, they could take on complex and specialized projects.

Just note that they need a routine to function to the best of their abilities. Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome are some of the most common cognitive disabilities that people often have. But we need to understand that they are people, same as everyone else, who need and deserve to be loved and treated with respect.  

Did you know that some of the best employees are those with cognitive disabilities? Because they value their job so much, they are willing to go above and beyond what is required. Their loyalty to your company will be unmatched, and they will continue to do their best even as time passes by.               

Employees with Learning Disabilities

Just because they find it challenging to learn something does not mean that they are not intelligent. Yes, it could take them some time, but they are smart individuals who are exceptional in doing what they love.

The most common form of accommodation required is a text-to-speech technology that can read the text aloud. However, for some people, assistance and affirmations are all they need.

Employees with Fine-Motor Disabilities

This can manifest in various ways. For example, an employee who might have a limited hand movement might need multiple assistive technologies to use the computer and accomplish other tasks properly.

For others who can use the mouse and keyboard but need special care, they can use a keyboard with larger keys. Some employees could also utilize a speech recognition device to relay commands or dictate text to their computer.

If the employee cannot use a mouse and keyboard, they need an eye tracker or a head mouse. These will help them control the mouse pointer without using their hand.

Employees Who Use a Wheelchair

what are accomodation accommodation accomodations accommodations

It is essential to provide them the proper ramps that will allow their wheelchairs to get to any part of the building without hassle. But other than that, they do not require different sorts of assistive accommodations to do their tasks well.

As employers, we have to be careful about our hiring criteria. Yes, we want qualified employees to do the job, but PWDs are equally as eligible as other applicants, so why don’t you give them a chance?

Today is 202x! Let’s break the stereotype! Hiring people with disabilities will do wonders for your company. Don’t let discrimination get in the way of hiring the best employees that your company will have!

How to hire people with disabilities?

An easy way to build your diverse team with people with disabilities is to hire and recruit them! Our most popular diversity job board – Jobs.Diversity.social and among other diversity job boards can be your starting point.

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Best Disability Resources and References

Disability Hiring

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Facts about hiring people with disabilities
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Facts about Hiring Persons with Disabilities

Inclusive workplaces are good for business

Organizations with inclusive cultures are:

  • twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets
  • three times as likely to be high-performing
  • six times more likely to be innovative and agile
  • eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes

Research shows that inclusive practices help to:

Plus, people like to support inclusive businesses!

Excellent Qualification with Person with disability

  • There are 645,000 Canadians with disabilities who have the potential to work in an inclusive labour market and are not currently working
  • Many talent with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed
  • Improving workplace access would allow 8,340,000 persons with disabilities to work more, and increase the GDP by $316.9 billion by 2030
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About the author

Jess Man

Jessica is the Editor-in-Chief and Senior Diversity Advisor at Diversity Social. Jessica has over 10 years of working with and advising employers to be more diverse and create an inclusive working environment.
Jessica's experience spans private and non-profit sectors in multiple industries.
Jessica's expertise experience is beyond Diversity & Inclusion, she is also a certified professional IT recruiter in Data & Analytics, Database administration, Artificial Intelligence area.