In December 2018 the Government announced it will be rolling out a new £40 million voluntary scheme[i] in England and Wales this year to help disabled people who are long-term unemployed get back into work.
The Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme aims to provide “highly personalised packages of employment support for people who are at least a year away from moving into work”, with the target of supporting 10,000 disabled people over four years[ii].
This initiative is about giving people the skills and confidence to get back into the workplace.
Employers must also play a part in creating a welcoming environment for disabled people and must not discriminate.
XpertHR’s free best practice guide for employers highlights five key business reasons for creating a disability-confident workplace. These include:
Organisations that are open to change and receptive to new ideas prosper
To develop new ideas, organisations need a workforce that can innovate, draw on a range of perspectives and personal backgrounds, and one that reflects the societies they aim to serve. Employees with disabilities have often had to develop resourcefulness, creativity and the ability to look at situations differently to find solutions to manage their health condition. They are likely to bring these skills to the workplace, applying innovation and creativity when serving customers and drawing on their tenacity and resilience.
Organisations benefit from employing people in roles that suit their skill set
Employers that genuinely want to recruit and retain the best people must concentrate on ability, rather than disability, to maximise talent pools and utilise key skills. For example, an individual with autism may well have the core skills needed for a role that requires dedication to routine tasks and spotting anomalies in large amounts of data.
Many potential customers will have a disability or be disability aware
People with disabilities exercise choice about where they spend money and influence the spending patterns of their family and friends. It is estimated that one in three of the UK population has a disability or is close to someone who does – representing significant buying power.
Organisations that are disability confident – those that have the knowledge and skills to interact with individuals with disabilities – will be in a good position to gain a larger percentage of this market. Those that employ people with disabilities are more likely to have the insight and knowledge about how to provide the products and services that customers with an interest in disability want.
Turnover of employees with disabilities is often low
Loyalty and commitment to their employer is common among employees with disabilities. In particular, organisations that create opportunities for people who have been out of work for some time due to a disability are likely to reap rewards – such employees are often motivated and keen to contribute fully to their workplace.
The personal circumstances of staff change
According to the Business Disability Forum, an average of 2% of the working-age population develop a disability every year. The incidence of disability increases post age 45. With an ageing workforce it is inevitable that more employees will develop a disability during their career. This means that organisations risk losing experience and talent unless they adopt an ethos of retaining staff whose circumstances change, either personally or because they are affected by disability.
XpertHR says that for organisations to thrive, they need to attract and retain talented staff and create a positive experience for them. An essential part of this is ensuring they are disability confident.XpertHR offers further guidance on disability in the workplace in their good practice guide on disability.
For more information visit: www.xperthr.co.uk