Why Hiring People With Disabilities Is Good For Business
October is the 75th annual National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM 2020), led by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and is dedicated to increasing opportunity and access. This year’s goal is to increase access and opportunity.
Speaking with employers on a daily basis, I’ve learned that there is a general lack of understanding around what it means to be chronically ill or disabled. Unless an employer knows someone with a chronic illness or has one themselves, it’s hard for them to truly understand this population. The general feedback I receive is the fear that chronically ill people need major accommodations that are costly to the employer. Employers have also cited that employees with illness experience high rates of absenteeism.
One of the big misconceptions is that offering accommodations is a financial burden for employers, but actually 59% of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500 per employee.
What’s more, employers should find the common characteristics of this community hugely desirable. The strength and determination of chronically ill individuals is truly unparalleled. It takes a LOT for “healthy” people to wake up each day, take care of your body, complete your work, and have time for you. Imagine the added stress of a treatment protocol, doctor’s appointments, blood draws, pharmacy trips, ER visits, etc… It takes an incredible amount of diligence and organization that I believe translates into being a mature and capable employee.
The chronically ill also has the ability to adapt to change. When you deal with the constant fluctuation of emotions, symptoms, pain, etc…, you have to learn to adapt to whatever your body is feeling that day. This translates to a great sense of flexibility and strength that I don’t imagine I would’ve learned if it weren’t for my battle with Lyme.
There are simply no excuses for not hiring chronically ill workers. Doing so would detrimentally reduce your available talent pool. There are 157+ million Americans living with a chronic illness. What’s more, 31.3% of Americans (5.6m) have a disability and are either employed, or unemployed but actively looking for work. GDP could see a boost of nearly $25 billion if just 1% more people with disabilities joined the workforce. These numbers are too great to ignore.
At Chronically Capable, we know that disabled and chronically ill people are not only capable, but uniquely qualified for employment because of their life experiences and skills developed along the way.
Disability inclusion is about more than just #hiring people with disabilities. It involves creating a workplace where disabled & chronically ill employees are VALUED for their strengths and that they have the same opportunities to succeed, to grow professionally, to be compensated fairly, and to have the opportunity to advance in their careers. Disability inclusion, at its core, is about embracing difference.
Hiring managers: disability inclusion is an OPPORTUNITY not a chore! Hiring people with disabilities and illnesses is good for people—and it’s good for companies. Having inclusive, accessible, & flexible workplaces is key to helping EVERYONE work better.
If your company is ready to hire from this untapped pool of talent, please sign up today or schedule a free 30- minute consultation with us! Help us reach our goal for NDEAM 2020 of on-boarding 10 new employer partners by October 31, 2020.
The future of work is #ChronicallyCapable, are you?
If you want to be the best employee that you can be, you have to know your strengths. It is as simple as that, whether you are disabled or able-bodied. In the case of being disabled, I have found for myself that it can be hard to know how I benefit a workplace when I do not feel like I fit the general mold for what makes a good employee.
In 2016, I visited a friend in California and came across cannabidiol—generally referred to as CBD. Desperate to alleviate my pain, I decided to try it out.
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We sat down with leadership at KeepTruckin, a Chronically Capable partner, to find out what makes their workplace inclusive for chronically ill and disabled employees.
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We spoke with Lucia Romano, a supervising attorney of the Employment Voting and Access Team (EVA), Client Assistance Program, and a team focused on employment at Disability Rights Texas. Lucia outlined helpful strategies for both chronically ill and disabled professionals as well as employers to make the workplace inviting and accessible.