Currently, almost 16% of Canadians identify themselves as having a disability. That’s equal to the combined populations of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is the largest minority in the Country. When you add family and loved ones, 53% of the population is directly affected by disability.
Globally, there are 1.3 million people who report having a disability. When combined with family and loved ones, they control over $8 trillion US in disposable income.
It is projected that over 20% of the population in Canada will have a disability by 2020. Couple that with the Conference Board of Canada’s prediction that by the same year, there will be a one-million worker shortfall, and it is clear that business will need to enhance their understanding of disability to increase market share and meet future labour needs.
Let us show you how your business can benefit by including people who have a disability in your workforce.
The Business Case
Higher Productivity at Lower Cost = Increased Profitability
People with a disability have much to contribute to any organization. They will make it more productive, more diverse and more human.
Whether you operate a small to medium sized enterprise or a multi-national corporation, whether your business is in the private, public or non-profit sector, people with disabilities have much to contribute and can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
E.I. Dupont (US) conducted a survey of employers who reported performance ratings of average or above average for 90% of workers with disabilities.
A Harris poll of 920 employers found 88% of workers with disabilities earned performance ratings of good or excellent. The same study showed that 33% of employers say that people with disabilities work as hard as other employees; 46% say they actually work harder.
US based Walgreens analysed 31 distinct locations in three distribution centres including Anderson, South Carolina, where 40% of the workforce is comprised of employees with disabilities. In 18 locations the difference in productivity rates was statistically insignificant; in three locations, employees without a disability were more productive and in 10 locations, employees with a disability were more productive.
The E.I. Dupont study showed that 86% of employees with a disability have average or above average attendance records. Toronto based Tim Hortons owner Mark Wafer (Megleen Inc.) reported that his employees with disabilities have an 87% better attendance record than his employees who don’t have disabilities.
A Pizza Hut – Taco Bell study showed that employees with a disability were 5 times more likely to stay on the job. Megleen Inc. also report an average annual turnover rate of 38% in an industry – Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) – where the average turnover can be as high as 120%.
The Dupont study showed that employers rate 97% of workers with disabilities as average or above average in terms of safety. In the case of Megleens, after 21 years in business and over 150 employees with disabilities, the company has never filed a WSIB claim for any of their employees with disabilities.
Build Brand and Customer Loyalty
People who have a disability and their family members comprise 53% of the marketplace. There is a strong emotional connection to disability.
In a 2008 COMPAS research poll, 78% of Canadians said they were more likely to buy a product or service from a business that has a policy of hiring people with disabilities.
A 2006 US study showed that 92% of consumers reflect favourably on businesses known to hire persons with a disability, and 87% prefer to do business with these same companies.
Improve Employee Engagement and Morale
Many businesses today lament the high costs associated with poor employee engagement and are initiating employee engagement programs and processes.
While turnover for employees with disabilities at Megleen Inc. is less than 1%, turnover for Wafer’s non-disabled employees is 55%, about half the industry average. Wafer suggests that employee engagement is enhanced due to his diverse hiring practices.
When Kitchener, Ontario based Dare Foods Inc. engaged on a hiring strategy to include people with disabilities in their workforce, one millennial HR recruiter remarked: “I’d just be so proud to say I work for Dare Foods and we do this”.
When managers are attuned to the specific skills and practices required for guiding a diverse team, and when all employees understand the workplace’s culture and values and their role within it, a better ‘fit’ is achieved and employee engagement increases. Organizations that take diversity seriously and implement effective integration strategies have greater success in achieving optimal employee performance and retention of staff.
A 2012 study by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada showed that almost half – 48% – of working age people with disabilities have a post-secondary education.
According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in a 2013 report highlighting the need to connect Employers with Graduates who had a disability, 29 percent of Ontario’s small and medium-sized enterprises are “having difficulty filling job vacancies due to the absence of qualified individuals. Yet, there exists a skilled labour pool of postsecondary graduates with disabilities in our own backyard who are disproportionately unemployed, underemployed, and have lower earnings than their non-disabled counterparts. “
Diversity in the workforce and inclusion of talented people from different backgrounds fuels innovation and growth.