Businesses are continuously trying to think of ways to incorporate diversity into their workforce, so why not consider people with disabilities?
Unlike the regular unemployment rate in the United States, six out of 10 disabled people don’t have full-time jobs, which requires them to be dependent of their guardians and government assistance programs. Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbilityUSA, a disabilities advocacy organization, told Bloomberg BNA why employers should utilize the skills of this specific group of people.
“Somebody with Asperger’s might be the best person to do finances in your office,” she said. “A blind person could be a wonderful proofreader because of the great reading software available now.”
Tech businesses specifically are seeing the value of hiring these job seekers, while others are still stuck on their potential limitations. HR software solutions can help identify applicants who have experience working with disabled persons, which can be beneficial when implementing accommodations for disabled people.
Often times, Americans don’t have many daily interactions with people with disabilities, which may cause them to treat them differently. Lori Golden from Ernst and Young talks about how this perception is holding many companies back from making the most of their potential.
“One very clear first step is for HR professionals to themselves get educated on abilities and how to interact with people who have differing abilities,” Golden explained. “Be aware of the person first and the disability second–not a blind manager, but a manager who is blind.”
Before human resources can even begin recruiting these people, they may have to look into adjusting their hiring process. Some of these people may be non-verbal, while others may feel uncomfortable talking because they are unable to articulate certain words.
The news source found that making such accommodations is not as expensive as it may seem, costing about $50 or less per person. By taking the time to allow these individuals to highlight their strengths, instead of focusing on their weaknesses, organizations have the chance to further grow.
Also, to ensure that harassment does not occur in the workplace, HR departments should update their disability and other work-related policies. This way, the disabled staff members feel that they are protected by the company, and that they are a part of the overall work environment.