When hiring, considering opening the door…wider!
Approximately 11% of adults in Canada have some sort of disability and only half of them participate in the labour force. That is about to change.
The first step is to change public mindset. The biggest issue is removing the fear. Fear that may stem from uncertainty and not knowing enough about disabilities. The challenge is to educate, remove the fear factor and to realize that we are all just people, who learn and do things in a different way.
The Canadian government, along with many corporate partners, is working on campaigns to dispel the stigma around disabilities. By removing judgment and replacing it with dialogue and strategies, these campaigns are educating the public on how they can be a part of a solution to end the prejudice against people with disabilities.
Opportunities for good employment are scarce; however, more and more companies are hiring people with disabilities as they have identified that they offer a unique skill set to the work place. They have identified that job performance comes in different forms. And they have identified that it is a win-win situation.
Also, the fear of accommodating this sector in the workforce is unfounded. Companies report that accommodation requirements on average are actually quite minimal. For example, it can be as small as insuring that people with diabetes can carry juice with them. Or for some it may be as simple as offering an afternoon break.
The two most notable advantages to hiring people with disabilities are lower turnover rates and far less absenteeism. On the whole, people with disabilities tend to work harder to prove themselves. Further, more inclusive hiring practices can help companies develop better goods and services for the market. Employees with disabilities can give a broader set of insights as to how to reach more customers and keep them happier. Moreover, this inclusive workforce better reflects the customer base as a whole.
The key to making this employment work is communication. You cannot be afraid to talk about the disability. This open dialogue needs to be a back and forth between the employer and the worker. This open communication can assist the employer in finding the true strengths and talents in the employee, and it assists the employee by creating a supportive work environment where they are free to disclose their specific needs in order to make them successful in the workplace.
This last element could be useful across the board for all employers and employees in making for a more diverse and inclusive work environment for all.
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