FAQs for Employers

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why hire people with disabilities? 

The fact is one in six Albertans has a disability and this represents a largely untapped talent pool in Calgary. Accessing and recruiting from this talent pool is vital to navigating present and future labour shortages. Disability does not define ability - people with disabilities can be as productive as individuals without a disability. 

An inclusive work culture enhances the moral of all employees, which in turn improves quality, productivity and service in the workplace. 

What's important to keep in mind is that employees with disabilities offer diverse perspectives which can foster innovation and creativity in the workplace. 

The commitment to hiring persons with disabilities identifies an organization as a corporate leader in the workplace and a community leader in society. 

What types of jobs can people with disabilities do? 

People with disabilities have a variety of backgrounds; as well as diverse education and job experience and are capable of full participation in the labour market. Given the opportunity to succeed, people with disabilities can excel in the workplace. 

One of the biggest misconceptions we see is employers matching positions to disabilities. For example, thinking a person in a wheelchair is ideal for a desk job. Yet we know people in wheelchairs who work as travelling salesmen and other positions which require a high degree of mobility.

It is essential to remember that there are no good jobs for people with disabilities, but there are people with disabilities who do good jobs. 

Will hiring a person with disabilities increase my workers compensation insurance rates?

No. Insurance rates are not based on if workers have disabilities, but solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization’s accident experience.

Do employees with disabilities have a higher absentee rate? 

Many studies have shown that employees with disabilities are not absent any more than employees without disabilities. Supporting an employee with disability may make them even more loyal and committed to an organization’s success. 

Will hiring a person increase my workers compensation insurance rates? 

No. Insurance rates are not based if workers have disabilities, but solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization’s accident experience. 

Are accommodations for people with disabilities expensive? 

Most accommodations are easy to introduce and have very little cost. The Alberta government estimates that 70% of accommodations cost less than $500. Funding supports are available for more expensive accommodations through the Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES) program. 

Where do I find qualified candidates? 

People with disabilities are everywhere but it is difficult to know where to look for the best person for your position. Agencies like Champions work specifically with people with disabilities and have many qualified candidates ready and willing to work. 

Writing job descriptions which accurately identify the essential requirements of the position (For example, do you really need a person who can lift 50 plus pounds?), and present your organization as committed to diversity and inclusion, will help increase the amount of candidates who seek you out.

Be genuine in describing your company’s commitment to diversity! Taglines like “equal opportunity employer” have lost their meaning over time and remain ambiguous. Instead, try statements which reflect your organization’s values, like “Our company reflects the diverse and inclusive community in which we live and so do our recruitment and hiring practices”. 

Think outside the box. Start an internship program with students with disabilities, collaborate with community partners to develop new programs to reach previously untapped potential candidates, train your HR team in best practices for building an inclusive workplace. 

How do I interview a candidate with a disability? 

People with disabilities want to be treated the same as everyone else. Everyone wants to be hired for the right reasons: because they have the skills and abilities which make them the right person for the job. You should interview a person with a disability the same way you interview any other candidates. Avoid assumptions about the existence of a disability and its impact on job performance. Instead, ask questions about how each candidate – those with a disability and those without - will perform the essential requirements of the job. The answers will give you valuable insight into how each candidate will perform on the job and help avoid any misconceptions you may have about a candidate’s ability. 

What if a person comes in for the interview with a visible disability, such as a wheelchair or white cane? See next month’s newsletter for a new article on interview etiquette.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]