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Disability History Month

About the Campaign:

Observed annually from the 16th of November until the 16th of December, Disability History Month aims to raise awareness about the struggles for equality and inclusivity that people with disabilities have endured throughout history. Widely celebrated across the NHS, the campaign provides an opportunity to:

  • Cherish the achievements of staff with disabilities
  • Educate oneself about what a disability is
  • Encourage employers/ managers to provide disabled workers with compassion and support
  • Encourage the facilitation of a more inclusive environment
  • Evaluate recruitment practices in place to review if they are inclusive
  • Encourage workers with disabilities to be open with their managers about their condition and register on the NHS Electronic Staff Record

Right to Employment

One of the biggest struggles of individuals with disabilities throughout history has been the struggle for employment and inclusivity at the workplace.

Indeed, the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people clearly still exists: between July and September 2021, 53,5% of disabled people aged 16 to 64 were employed as opposed to 81.6% of non-disabled. On the bright side, the situation does seem to be improving: according to the latest labour market figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of disabled people in employment has increased by 1.3 million since 2017.

Disabled employee having a conversation with colleague

As per the Equality Act 2010, it is against the law for employers to discriminate against job candidates because of their disability. Despite this, however, a lot of employers may feel like they don’t have the skills or confidence to successfully recruit and retain disabled workers or may not have a sufficient understanding of disability as a whole.

One of the ways to change this mindset that is still (more or less) linked to the idea of employing disabled people is to raise awareness of the many benefits that this can have for both businesses and the individuals themselves. Over the years, this has majorly contributed towards reducing the false perceptions about hiring disabled employees, making more and more companies interested in doing so and creating a more inclusive culture at the workplace.

Benefits of Employing Disabled People

The costs of making reasonable adjustments for individuals with disabilities are often low, but the benefits are long lasting and come in many forms. Here are some of the reasons why you should start encouraging the employment of disabled people at your company (if you haven’t as of yet):

1. High Work Performance and Motivation

Due to the fact that employment opportunities can sometimes be limited for disabled individuals, obtaining a job position can be of even greater significance to them than to a non-disabled employee. This often translates into a higher motivation to prove valuable to the business, and thus- equal, or even better performance in comparison to non-disabled colleagues.

2. Improved Company Morale

Aside from work performance, employing people with disabilities can have a positive effect on company morale as a whole and lead to an improvement in the quality of the culture at your company. The sense of inclusivity that it cultivates helps employees develop a more empathetic attitude towards each other, thus increasing loyalty and improving team spirit.

A group of employees around office desk.

3. Increase in High-Quality Applicants

Encouraging disabled people to apply for positions at your company will allow you to access a wider pool of high-quality applicants. Appropriately qualified workers are not always easy to recruit and retain, especially in the current economy climate where companies are intensely competitive about attracting the brightest employees. To say that leaving out an entire group of relevant, capable individuals (especially in these circumstances) is unreasonable would be an understatement.

Disabled employee in wheelchair speaking to colleague

4. Boosted Company Image

Demonstrating values of inclusivity and equality makes the public more willing to engage with your business and the services that you offer. In this way, making positions at your company available to people with disabilities will not only help you attract the right candidates, but also the right customers.

5. Lower Turnover

Partly due to the difficulties they meet when job hunting, employees with disabilities are likelier to remain with the same company for longer periods of time. This decreases turnover as well as the financial cost of having to recruit and train new employees.

Hiring Disabled Employees

The process of recruiting disabled employees and providing them with any reasonable adjustments required can seem a bit intimidating if you don’t feel that you have the knowledge and skillset to confidently do so.

Are you in need of tailored advice to help you with hiring disabled workers and supporting them during their professional development? Healthscreen can help! Click here to contact us for more information.

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