A Guide to Employing People with Disabilities in the Workplace

In the UK alone, there are nearly six million people of working age that are classed as disabled or have a serious health condition. Historically there has been a significant gap between the proportion of disabled people employed compared with non-disabled people, with a 30% gap between the number of disabled people of a working age in employment (46.3%) and non-disabled people of a working age in employment (76.4%). All of this is despite the fact 80% of both employers or co-workers think that they are just as productive as any other employee.

 

The Benefits of Employing Disabled Individuals

 

Aside the fact is it illegal to discriminate anyone with a disability by the 2010 Equality Act, it also makes practical sense to encourage potential applicants from the biggest spectrum possible. This will increase the number of high quality applicants you have to choose from as well as help you build a workforce that better reflects the diversity of the community around you. Employing someone with a disability could also bring certain skills that are not as common in other demographics. Whether it’s the ability to use sign language or the knowledge of certain medical conditions, this could result in your businesses saving money in the future if you no longer needed to hire a professional interpreter or train other members of your staff.

 

What Kind of Changes You Are Expected to Make

 

While you must make the reasonable adjustments necessary to support disabled job applicants and employees – this is outlined in the 2010 Equality Act as ensuring disabled people can overcome any substantial disadvantages they may have doing their jobs and progressing in work – these are not as time-consuming or costly as you might imagine.

 

Some of these changes such as tailoring selected work schedules, making alterations to the work premises, ensuring that information is provided in accessible formats, and modifying or acquiring technical equipment will have little-to-no consequence on your company’s cash flow and may in turn reduce accidents in your workplace for everyone involved.

When looking to recruit for a new position, state clearly on your advertisement that you welcome applications from all sections of the community and that you have an equal opportunities policy. Remember to use premises that are fully accessible and, if necessary, offer an alternative to a standard interview such as a working interview where they can show their abilities.

Business is a competitive place right now, and ensuring you have a great staff is one of the ways you can stand out. Encouraging applications from the largest spectrum of people as possible is the best way to ensure you get the highest calibre of employees in your businesses. 

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