Why People With a Disability Can Be a Real Asset in the Workplace

One in five Australians lives with a disability, including physical, sensory, intellectual, or psycho-social issues. This means in any workplace, there is 1 in 5 chance that any employee lives with a disability – which is good news for everyone.

For someone with a disability, finding meaningful employment can be of great benefit – regardless of their disability. Working can boost confidence and emotional wellbeing – which may help people manage issues such as anxiety or depression. People with physical disabilities also get an emotional boost, which may improve their overall wellbeing.

Working alongside someone with a disability fosters inclusivity and strong, cohesive workplace connections. And hiring someone with a disability makes business sense, because a cohesive workplace is a productive one.

Why is workplace socialisation important?

Apart from family and friends, people spend a lot of time with their colleagues and many lifelong friendships are formed at work.

People who have not had much interaction with people with disability can learn a lot through social interactions at work. At AimBig Employment, we are all about breaking down the stigma around disability, especially in the workplace.

We challenge preconceived notions about what people with disability can and can’t do. Through socialising at work, people learn to see beyond a person’s disability and see them as simply another co-worker.

Working alongside people with different abilities and strengths allows employees to learn to collaborate in ways that benefit everyone.

Having a wide range of people working together also strengthens a workplace’s investment in diversity and inclusion strategies. Building stronger connections between staff from all different backgrounds, cultures and abilities enhances a cohesive company culture. And workplaces with a strong culture, happy and engaged staff tend to perform better.

Why hire someone with a disability?

The Australian Government’s Job Access website sets out a strong business case for hiring people with disability.

As well as stronger social connections and an inclusive, cohesive workplace culture, there are financial advantages and real cost savings – notably through reduced staff turnover and lower recruitment and training costs.

Insurance cover and compensation costs are also often lower, as people with a disability tend to have fewer incidents and accidents at work compared with their co-workers. And, like any person you hire, people with disability have a wide range of skills, talents, and abilities that they can bring to your workplace.

Key benefit about employing people with disability

  • Workers with a disability generally take fewer days off and stay in their jobs longer
  • Employment costs can be 13 per cent lower than other employees*
  • Workers’ compensation costs are as low as 4 per cent of other employees*
  • In the right job, people with a disability perform as well as other employees
  • People with a disability boost staff morale and a sense of teamwork
  • People with a disability build strong connections with customers and boost an employer’s image in the community.

* Graffam, J, Shinkfield, A, Smith, K, and Polzin, U 2002, ‘Employer benefits and costs of employing a person with a disability’, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, vol. 17, pp. 251-263.

Here at AimBig Employment, we work with employers and people with disability to help people find the right job that works for everyone.

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