Reasons for integration in a company

Business man working (Benjamin Thorn/
The employer should focus on "abilities" instead of "disabilities" of their employees (Benjamin Thorn/

Integration of people with disabilities is worth it for companies. John Carton, Business Excellence Director and Steering Team Member of the Dow Employee Network for people with disabilities (DEN), gives us an inside view of what companies think or should.

Generally, people with disabilities are more capable than people expect – if they only have a chance to show their skills. The employer and the management should focus on the "abilities" instead of "disabilities" of their employees. The management by objective programs in companies should build on the skills of employees.

This will result in a significant reduction of burn-out cases as well as the effective integration of disabled employees.

Reliability, commitment, loyalty

When a company cares for the needs and wishes of their staff, the employees are very loyal, and the high employee satisfaction minimises staff turnover. As it is difficult to find a job with a disability, affected people usually become very loyal to those employers who give them a chance.

Employees with disabilities are valuable to companies as qualified, motivated employees who are willing to learn and ensure a customer-focused service experience.

Insider perspective

All this is legitimate in theory; however, many companies are still hesitant when it comes to hiring disabled people. John Carton, Business Excellence Director and Steering Team Member of the Dow Employee Network for people with disabilities (DEN), gives us an inside view of what companies think or should.

MyHandicap: What is your personal motivation to hire people with disabilities?

John Carton: Thankfully, I work for a company that understands the value of diversity & inclusion. We’re not as good as we wish to be but that simply says that we have high aspirations and we are committed to improving. Though networking with organisations such as MyHandicap and the ILO Business & Disability Network, we have the possibility to learn more. Through examples, we have the opportunity to influence others to follow.

But it cannot be just about hiring. It’s about the hiring, retention and development of people with disabilities. Everybody, without exception, needs to be challenged, rewarded, and developed.

quadriplegic young man talks to HR (Picture: MyH)
Disabled employees do not necessary cost more (Picture: MyH)

Benefits for the company

MyH: Where do you see the benefits in hiring people with disabilities for a company?

J.C.: It makes good business sense to create a diverse and inclusive workgroup as a mean to fuel innovation, the lifeblood of growth. A person with a disability adds to the creative mix and brings unique insights.

And the environment that will ensure that a person with a disability can flourish, one that is inclusive and seeks to foster our abilities, is a working environment to the benefit of everyone in the organisation.

MyH: Many employers argue that they would be too small to hire people with disabilities. Do you agree?

J.C.: No. There is nothing more important to the success of any company than having excellent employees. And the fewer the number of employees the more obvious the differing performance levels become. But employing a person with a disability does not mean that you need to compromise on the quality of the employee. Focus on the ability of candidates. Match the right skills to the right job requirements to be successful. And when you have two equally good candidates, choose the person that adds to workforce diversity. Make the small adjustments that people with and without disabilities need to work efficiently. And you have a recipe for success that is independent of company size.

MyH: Do people with disabilities cost a company more than a “normal” employee?

J.C.: Statistics show that it is more cost effective in the long run to hire a person with a disability as retention rates are higher thus saving on retraining. A clear benefit for roles with traditionally high levels of turnover such as call centres. I can go further sighting other statistics but suffice to say that in general this is a myth. It is possible that small accommodations will be necessary but the cost is insubstantial in the long term. And don’t forget that folks without a disability often require adjustments too.

Personal motivation

John Carton is father of a son with a disability and wants to change the world, that he grows up into, to be a better one. One that is more respectful. "I believe in diversity and inclusion because of my head as a businessman and because of my heart as a father."

Thank you very much for your time and for giving us an insight.

Text: MyH

Translation: MPL - 04/2012

Pictures: / MyH