There’s a lot of stigma surrounding disabilities. Negative stereotypes, misconceptions and a little bit of ignorance can make it hard for people with disabilities to get recognised as the valuable workers they are. Research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that employment rates of people with health problems or disability were at 40% and falling, meaning Australia has some of the poorest work force outcomes for people with disability when compared to the other member countries of the OECD.

That’s why organisations like ON‑Q are here to help people with disability land jobs and thrive in the workplace as well as showing employers how they can benefit from employing someone with a disability. Here are just 7 reasons why:

1. Find the best person for the job
Just because a person has a disability doesn’t mean they are any less qualified or capable of succeeding in the job. Encompassing people with disabilities in the hiring process only widens the talent pool and ensures a business selects the very best person for the job.

2. Create a diverse work place culture
Not only does hiring people with disabilities broaden the culture of the work place, it also allows for greater understanding about disabilities in general. A major part of breaking down the stigma surrounding disabilities is education and awareness. Educating even a small office on the ability of a person with a disability is a step in breaking down a larger scale stigma.

3. Inclusive environment
Organisations who establish inclusive structures and protocols can ensure personal employee satisfaction, as well as helping on the business side of things. Inclusive environments minimise the risk of injury, complaint or breach of discrimination law which benefits both the employer and the employee.

4. Build business reputation
Not only does hiring a person with a disability create a better culture on an individual level, it can also build a positive image around the brand and the business as a whole.

5. Understand customers better
Education is key and hiring people with disabilities can give your team a greater insight into your customers. Diversity in the workplace can allow a better understanding of the diversity that exists in the wider world which can benefit your organisation.

6. Lower absenteeism and employee turn over
Studies show that people with disabilities generally take fewer days off and take less sick leave. On top of this, there is a stronger job loyalty and less turn over with people with disabilities staying in jobs longer than other workers.

7. Innovation
People who need to adjust their lives to work with their disability must constantly think outside the box and overcome the obstacles that people without a disability never even think about twice. The innovation and problem solving that becomes a part of everyday life for many people who have a disability can benefit organisations and other team members. Companies such as Microsoft are recognising how it makes sense to recruit people with disabilities and are deliberating hiring people with autism who have enhanced abilities to see patterns and pick up mistakes faster and more accurately than their peers.

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