The WORK & Abilities Blog

The blog for work inclusion professionals!

Adopting better hiring practices


Staffing is an essential resource for a company’s proper operation. For Randy Lewis at Walgreens, hiring a person in a disability situation resulted in many benefits: an employment retention rate increase, fewer workplace accidents, similar or improved productivity.[1]. We will examine human resources management in the context of a staff with disabilities, from hiring to job retention.

Appropriate staffing procedures can make the difference when acquiring and maintaining a workforce that meets a company’s needs. We must first identify an organization’s needs in light of the work required and the tasks associated with the job. Thereby, avoid hiring just for an existing position, but remaining flexible about an organization’s development. Instead of assessing candidates with disabilities according to their appearance or diagnosis, far better to ask how they would do a task. Rather than attempting to solve a problem alone, join forces with the candidate. It’s important to remember that people with disabilities are familiar with their handicap; they probably already use adaptations depending on their situation. An internship can also help the employer better evaluate and understand the match between the job and the candidate.

Next, integrating and maintaining a person with a disability at a job requires tracking, for example, the workstation and the relationship with the work team. The workstation requires customization so that the skills of a disabled new worker can be employed. Changes made to a workstation can also help optimize the working time of the new employee and even others. Next, in terms of the work team, it is necessary to encourage initial contact without imposing it. As with all changes in an organization, the entire team’s exposure and involvement can help the whole process. For example, activities that support employment integration can be organized in collaboration with the new employee, if they are interested, and if their privacy isn’t compromised. [2] [3]

Finally, to ensure that an employment project succeeds, external consultation may be essential to guide employers and employees.[4] Many consultation services are free and easily accessed. Patrick Fortier, employment counselor at Service spécialisé de main-d’œuvre ESSOR II summarizes his role, as follows:

 “Our role is basically to support the client towards their employment goal, while respecting their condition and state. And with this in mind, identify the best workplace. Work closely with all partners (i.e., employers, health, social services, school). Play a facilitator role between the employer and the future employee. Allow the future employee to develop work-related lifestyle habits.”

In short, there are various benefits to hiring individuals with disabilities. To make their skills and know-how available to an organization, job adaptation and team integration are essential considerations. In addition, several organizations and employment support networks exist to facilitate various transitions.

A collaboration of Étienne Légaré, member of l’Association québécoise des professionnels du développement de carrière (Quebec Association of Career Development professionals)

Want to learn more about work integration for people in a situation of professional disability?
Subscribe to our newsletter by clicking on this link.

Need support for your clients?
Do not hesitate to contact SPHERE.

[1] Randy Lewis, Why I hired a workforce no one else would | Randy Lewis | TEDxNaperville – YouTube, 2015,

[2] La gestion de la diversité, une opportunité à saisir! (Québec, 2011), (Managing diversity)

[3] Jim Hasse, Perfectly able : How to attract and hire talented people with disabilities, New York : American Management Association, 2011.

[4] “Mark Wafer: Enabling the Disabled”, TVO, consulted September 2018,

Photo : Unsplash