Society has placed a label on individuals with a disability. This label has restricted specific individuals in many ways, but the issue that is being largely recognized today is that organizations shy away from hiring people with disabilities. There is an assumption that someone who has a disability is unable to participate in the work force. It is the perception of disability that leaves them struggling for independence.
There are many working conditions that place challenges on members of society who are not labeled disabled.Take for example, scheduling. Not everyone works 9-5, 40 hours a week; there are certain factors, and preferences in people’s lives that force them to work certain hours and jobs. Society is accepting of these choices made by people who do not have a disability. Can’t we also do this with other barriers? If organizations are flexible with people’s scheduling ability and working preference, then why shouldn’t they be more accommodating to an individual who may have a labeled disability?
Yes there are barriers placed on individuals when performing certain tasks but why can’t we remove those barriers? What history has taught us is that we can do anything! If we can invent a spaceship to land a man on the moon, then why can’t we create resources that enable a person with a physical disability to participate in the work force? It wasn’t too long ago where women in developed countries couldn’t vote. Women were seen as incompetent and different from men. Today everyone has the right to vote, so everyone should have the right to work. It has become a tough economy to find work but we shouldn’t let our physical differences separate us from the possibility of employment.
Recently the Government of Canada (new window) presented a report from the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. (new window)Members of the panel spoke to organizations who hire people with disabilities, and ones who are still unclear of the benefits of hiring someone with a disability. Many organizations are unaware that people with disabilities have a wealth of knowledge and creativity that can benefit an organization. Just because an individual has a physical difference doesn’t mean that they can’t do the jobs at hand.
The report found that hiring people with disabilities benefits the organization. Here are a few key points:
- There was a reduction in staff turnover when hiring a person with a disability.
- When an organization hires someone with a disability it shows that diversity is valued and thus enhances the positive image of the business.
- Exposing staff to work with someone with a disability provides the staff with education on the individuals’ different working abilities and helps remove the stereotypical label, disability.
- To manage in an inaccessible society, an individual with a disability finds creative solutions; creative and innovative ideas are shared with their new working environment.
- More often than not, it doesn’t cost extra to hire someone with a disability.
There are resources available to help organizations accommodate someone with a disability, whether it’s new technology, or education for staff. Don’t let the label disable individuals, let it create new opportunities.
What has this report taught us? To add value, diversity, education and creativity to an organization, then hire people with disabilities!