Bridging the Opportunity Divide

The Reason Why Businesses Should Hire Employees With Disabilities

November 12, 2014
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The Reason Why Businesses Should Hire Employees With Disabilities
Best Buddies International's media campaign “I’m In To Hire” highlights the positives that accompany hiring those with disabilities. Best Buddies International
Contrary to popular belief, they're a great asset.

Finding a job is difficult for the average person. Add a disability into the mix, and the odds seem impossible, especially since there’s the stereotype that hiring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) will be a detriment to business.

All that could change, however, thanks to a recent study showing that employees with IDD aren’t just charity cases and that they contribute positively to both the work environment and the bottom line.

The study was conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), an organization which examines high performance organizations. According to the report, hiring people with IDD “adds highly motivated people to the workforce (which can lead to increased productivity) and it promotes an inclusive culture that appeals to the talent pool organizations want to attract.” All of this translates into a better community image and an increase in profits.

Of the employers surveyed, three-quarters gave their employees with IDD ratings of “good” or “very good” in the areas of work quality, motivation, engagement, integration with co-workers, dependability and attendance. Adding to that, 80 percent reported positive experiences and one-third reported having their expectations exceeded.

The Institute’s study confirms what organizations that work with individuals with IDD have been saying for years, like Best Buddies International, a nonprofit that has been working to find equal employment and opportunity for those with disabilities since its inception in 1989.

In response to the study’s release, Best Buddies started a media campaign entitled “I’m In To Hire” highlighting the positives that come along with hiring those with disabilities. As of October 24, the website had 100,000 pledges of support.

Anthony K. Shriver is the Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies and remarks how individuals with IDDs can transform the workplace.

“They’ve hired an effective and enthusiastic employee, and now have lower turnover in those jobs,” Shriver tells The Daily Beast. “The culture of our schools have changed since we began inclusion of people with IDD. Our offices can transform as well.

Pathways to Careers is another organization working with individuals with IDD. Rather than focusing on the disabilities, Pathways markets the individual and matches the skillset with the job.

Considering 85 percent of people with IDD don’t have paid work, both the report and programs such as these has the potential to inspire change.

Bottom line: These workers have much more going for them than the disability that constrains them.

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