Hiring people with disabilities provides real business benefits that extend far beyond goodwill. Businesses who hire people with disabilities report bottom line benefits that show proven ROI.
“We had high hopes when we started this initiative, but really didn’t know how it would work out. It was a little bit of a leap of faith, and a lot about our beliefs in the value of all people regardless of their disabilities. And, of course, the results proved us more than right. Hiring people with disabilities was not a charitable issue; it clearly addressed a number of business needs.”James Emmett
Former Disability Program Manager, Walgreens
Bottom Line Benefits for Companies
- Reduced Turnover: With a well-run disability community outreach effort, turnover can be reduced by 20-30% compared to other labor pools, and the costs associated with turnover are decreased.
- Reduced Recruiting Costs: A well-run outreach effort coordinates and takes advantage of recruiting resources of states, community- based organizations, and schools, which can reduce the need for recruiting with ads and temporary agencies, and HR and recruiting department hours.
- Untapped Labor Pool: Out of the approximately 56 million people with disabilities in the US (19% of the US population), 13.3 million reported difficulty finding a job but are able and seeking work.
- Increased Productivity & Workplace Safety: In the right environments, employees with disabilities can thrive. Results from programs have shown workers with disabilities have had equal to or greater productivity with fewer safety incidents.
- Tax Credits & Incentives: Sites may be eligible for Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC) with direct credits per hire with a disability. Companies can tap state grants and incentives to set up training programs in partnership with vocational rehabilitation programs, schools, and community-based organizations. This will result in having trained workers available immediately with little ramp up time.
- Customer Outreach: By setting up specific disability-related programs and completing a targeted marketing effort, companies can expect an increase in patronage from the disability community.
- Business Results: Companies can expect the same or better business results in terms of costs, productivity, and throughput.
Manager Perceptions Have Changed
Managers experienced in these programs showed substantial improvements in their perceptions of employees with disabilities and the value they bring to the workplace.
|Flexibility to adapt to new situations||16%||67%||16%|
Source: Kessler/NOD Survey of Americans with Disabilities (conducted by Harris Interactive) 2010, 411 senior manager were interviewed at a cross-section of companies with 50 or more employees
The current wave of company-led disability employment and inclusion programs did not happen overnight. Much can be credited to Walgreens, which in 2007 emerged as a corporate leader in the field by aggressively and publicly championing the business case for hiring people with disabilities. This really was the beginning of a paradigm shift, paving the way for other national employers to implement their own initiatives.