Would it surprise you to know that more than a billion people in this world have some form of disability? In terms of ratio, it means that one in seven persons has a disability. In some cases, the disability is visible; in other cases, it is not so apparent.
Though these numbers are staggering, a sobering fact is that the inclusion of those with disabilities into the workplace has traditionally been abysmally low.
Consider the following statistics:
It’s true that firms have often been hesitant to employ those with disabilities because they have bought into the myth that hiring people with disabilities entails considerable costs. It turns out that the additional expenditure, if at all, is quite minimal. There is a strong business case for building robust disability inclusion programmes and it is in the best interests of organisations to ensure that persons with disabilities are represented well in their workplaces.
Apart from it just being the “right” thing to do on humanitarian grounds, why should companies hire people with disabilities?
So then, what steps can companies take to ensure that people with disabilities who are recruited into their workforce feel welcome? How can organisations ensure the best contribution from this cohort and win their loyalty?
Identify jobs that can be done by the disabled with excellence: There are specific industries where people with various types of disabilities could excel and make a mark. Speech and hearing impaired people working in the manufacturing industries are found to be less distracted by the sounds around them and report less tiredness and fatigue at the end of the day. Similarly, many with locomotive challenges have been found to perform well in the IT/ITES, BPO and travel sectors. The onus is on companies to identify areas where they could use the support of those with disabilities and find the right fit for their skill sets. An example is the Metta Foot Reflexology Spa in Mumbai, where 90% of the employees are visually impaired. These employees were found to be highly proficient at their work and tended to work with higher focus.
India needs to see an increase in inclusive and accessible workplaces. People with disabilities need safe, collaborative environments, built on mutual respect, where they can do their best and thrive. Companies have a huge role to play in integrating them into mainstream society by providing them the much-needed economic opportunities. While traditional working models are getting turned on their head due to the pandemic, organisations must ensure that the interests of those with disabilities are considered and given due importance. When enterprises make it a priority to build inclusivity and accessibility best practices into their ecosystem, they pave the way for a world where people with disabilities feel valued and make an impact.
Careernet is a talent solutions provider that takes corporate disability inclusion seriously and supports diversity at the workplace. With Careernet Prism, the company helps employers build inclusive workplaces with diverse talent, including LGBTQ, veterans and persons with disabilities. Do reach out to Careernet at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more.
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