Disability inclusion at work: What it is and why it matters

What is disability inclusion at work?

Disability inclusion at work is about more than hiring people with disabilities. An inclusive workplace values all employees for their strengths. It offers employees with disabilities — whether visible or invisible — an equal opportunity to succeed, to learn, to be compensated fairly, and to advance. True inclusion is about embracing difference.

Why disability inclusion?

Disability inclusion is a critical part of any business. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one adult in four in the United States has a disability. That includes invisible disabilities as well as visible ones. It’s likely that your workforce already includes many people with disabilities. Without disability inclusion, your business isn’t doing all it can to support its current employees.

Disability inclusion is also crucial to your hiring process. Companies that aren’t proactive about disability inclusion are losing out on qualified talent. If candidates face barriers during the application and interview process, or if they sense that your business is not inclusive, they’re likely to look elsewhere.

Companies with strong disability inclusion programs have better access to talent and better employee retention. They have the tools they need to help their employees thrive.

Expand your talent pool

People with disabilities represent a significant talent pool:

  • One adult in four has some type of disability, whether visible or invisible.

  • Despite wanting to work, people with disabilities are employed at a much lower rate than their peers.

  • The vast majority of people with disabilities are striving to work.

In 2018, only 33 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities participated in the workforce. That’s compared to almost 77 percent of Americans without a disability. By tapping into this talent pool, employers can gain access to over 10 million working-age people.

Strengthen your workforce

Disability inclusion will strengthen your workforce:

  • Disability inclusion is a critical part of employee support.

  • Employees are looking for diverse, inclusive workplaces.

  • Inclusion builds morale and helps all employees do their best work.

To support your employees, you need a strong disability inclusion program. Without disability inclusion, your workforce won’t thrive.

Building an inclusive workplace can improve morale and workplace culture. It sends an important message about your company’s values.

More and more, employees with and without disabilities care about their workplace culture and believe it’s important to help them thrive at work. Research from Deloitte shows that employees specifically value diversity and inclusion.

When employees believe that leadership truly owns the effort to build a more inclusive workplace, they’re likely to have more respect toward those leaders. And they’re likely to show more loyalty to the organization.

Inclusive practices not only support people with disabilities. Inclusion creates a more accepting and supportive workplace for all employees. Employers with strong disability inclusion programs can expect higher engagement from all employees.

Build a more inclusive workplace


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