Hiring People with Disabilities: Making it Work

  • There are many benefits to hiring a people with disabilities.  Hiring with diversity positions you as a progressive and inclusive employer ‚ and in today‚ competitive market, that positions you as an employer of choice. As well, a workforce that more closely reflects the makeup of the overall community welcomes a larger customer base (one in three employable Albertans has some form of disability, whether visible or not).

    The benefits continue: when you welcome diversity into the workplace, you expand the perspectives available to you, adding to the net creativity and dynamism of your organization. You are less likely to lose a talented and experienced worker who newly experiences disability, and you earn the loyalty and respect of enthusiastic workers who have learned how to solve problems and persevere.

    Suppose you interview a candidate with a disability who is able to perform some but not all duties of the position.  Don’t dismiss them.  Consider how to turn this opportunity to an advantage for both of you.

    From what you know about the job determine the following:

    1. Can I modify the tasks or hours of work?
    2. Can I assign some of these tasks to another employee, and in exchange reduce that person’s workload somehow?
    3. Is there a job-sharing opportunity?
    4. What are the immediate requirements of the job and what can be learned through additional training?

    Benefits of “Making it Work”:

    1. Some of the work can be undertaken immediately.
    2. By having an opportunity to perform the tasks they do well, new employees develop confidence, which will lead to their taking on more responsibility.
    3. Giving a new employee the chance to grow into a job will increase his or her job satisfaction and retention.

    This approach is particularly useful in placing people with disabilities who can perform some tasks competently, but lack the stamina or physical capacity to take on the full range of tasks.

    Remember:  make adjustments and accommodations, but don’t create an entirely new job to fit the individual.  That is not good business and it usually doesn’t work.