Why it is valuable to employ people with disabilities

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Enterprises can benefit from employing people with disabilities. (Photo: Benjamin Klack / pixelio.de)

Equal opportunities in the working world are one of the key aspects of the disability equality policy. Employing people with disabilities benefits to employees and to employers alike. People with disabilities possess faculties which can give added value to any enterprise.

According to the definition of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), one ninth of the people of working age in Switzerland, in 2011, were considered disabled. The re-integration of people with disabilities in the working world has gained much significance, especially as a result of pressure from politicians to lighten the burden on social insurances.

For people with disabilities, taking part in the working life is an essential condition to an equal participation to society. Indeed, work for them is a proof of their full value and their capacities. But not only people with disabilities benefit from employment; enterprises can also find an interest in it.

Diversity Management as a foundation

To account for the benefits for an enterprise is a concept of Diversity Management, which can be described as handling diversity in the working place. It aims at promoting personal diversity in the enterprise, with the aim of reducing negative aspects.

The concept of Diversity Management aims at making the most out of the diversity of the staff, so as to bring economical interests and social tasks into accord.

Economical advantages for the enterprise

Applying diversity policy and employing people with disabilities allows many possibilities to an employer. Most significant is the way an employer can focus on the strengths and capacities of disabled employees, in other words, how he applies Ability Management.

In what follows, we will present you various areas which can have a decisive impact on the success of the enterprise.

Clipping from a newspaper with the headline: Qualified employees wanted.
Staff recruitment can help improve the perception of various social themes. (Photo: Gerd Altmann / AllSilhouettes.com /pixelio.de)

Increased productivity and less fluctuation

People with disabilities, who fulfil the work requisites and find themselves in an accessible work environment, can work to their full potential. Moreover, employees with disabilities, when working under advantageous conditions, can show a great engagement as well as a motivation above-average.

Employees with disabilities are fully aware of how difficult looking for a job can be, and often try to compensate their deficits through greater efforts. The many hurdles and limitations which they might encounter on a daily basis motivate them to accomplish even more. Therefore, they often show a greater loyalty to their employer as well as more motivation. Another side effect is the lower turnover costs; indeed, employees with disabilities often stay longer with one employer and generate fewer costs.

More profit through creative thinking

People with disabilities are confronted with many challenges and this on a daily basis. They are used to finding solutions which require flexibility, creativity and an open mind. This creative way of thinking and of handling can be benefitting to the whole enterprise. Problem-solving processes can also benefit the whole staff, so that creative thinking can take place in the whole enterprise, even in teams which have no disabled employee.

For a better image in the public space

An employer with social responsibility can show his engagement by showing his commitment to areas such as equality or antidiscrimination. In this way, an enterprise can decide to stand out and present his philosophy in the public space.

A successful integration of people with disabilities can also have a positive effect on the reputation of the enterprise. This effect can be a decisive element in purchase-decision processes. Apart from positive effects on customers and suppliers, employees are also more motivated to work for an employer who enjoys a good reputation.

A study from Towers Watson shows that the good reputation of an enterprise can contribute significantly to attract new employees. The enterprise benefits in this way from an improved staff recruitment. Especially in times of lack of qualified personnel and "war of talents", this can be a very significant factor.

Text: Simon Müller - 06/2013
Translation: MyH - 06/2013
Photos: pixelio.de