Over the last few years, we’ve heard talk about including a diversity of labor pools to solve the worker shortage problem, even more so now shortages are a reality. However, despite the various challenges and solutions proposed, people with disabilities are rarely included in the conversation. In fact, outside of associations and services, texts or articles dealing with employment diversity discuss it in terms of sex, gender, culture and age. It’s typical for talk about people with disabilities to be totally absent from the conversation.
Can we presume that promoting the value of people with disabilities as part of the solution to the labor shortage is unfortunately still perceived as too demanding by employers?
Diversity and People with Disabilities: Too Demanding?
Hiring people with disabilities isn’t a matter of only personal values. It’s also an entrepreneurial desire to effectively represent the population we serve to:
- Profit from the benefits of a diverse and non-homogenous workforce.
- Grow a larger customer pool and help them participate in a diversity culture.
Business success and openness to diversity isn’t based primarily on a liberal attitude toward differences, but on the willingness to do things differently. Of course, it can take different forms, depending on the company size. However, no matter a business’ size, the importance of working together (leadership, managers, team in the field, union, etc.) rallies the entire organization around a common goal: do business in a way that promotes inclusion (especially with people in a disability situation).
It’s understandable that companies can be reluctant to engage fully in the process. It raises questions and challenges the established order. However, businesses must keep in mind that it’s a collaborative process. Everyone’s ideas can contribute to success. Whether it’s a matter of recognizing teamwork, establishing each person’s role, determining progress or reorganizing certain tasks, everyone’s understanding and cooperation will ensure that in the end, every employee can achieve their objectives and perform according to their abilities. Employment diversity is a leadership commitment, however, more importantly; it’s an organizational commitment to inclusion from top to bottom. What could be better than having everyone contribute? Success lies above all in collaboration.
Fortunately, businesses aren’t without support. A company that welcomes diversity is also able to count on resources to adopt an inclusive vision, i.e., a vast network of support organizations and services for the employment integration of people from diverse backgrounds, including people in a disability situation. With the expertise of an employability professional, such organizations have a major role to play, supporting the employer in the process: from recruitment, job integration and retention to job mobility.
What about you?
Have you helped companies go against the grain by including people with disabilities in their vision of diversity? Do you represent one of these companies or do you know a company that stands out?
Share your stories and encourage the recognition of people with disabilities as an essential part of diversity by submitting your application for the following prizes to be awarded at the 24th Annual National Supported Employment Conference with local host SPHERE. The Conference will be held from June 11-13, 2019 in Montreal:
- The CASE – Mark Wafer Award for Business Excellencerecognizes outstanding businesses that have made significant contributions to the promotion of full citizenship and personal capacity for persons with disabilities through the facilitation of increased labour market participation.
- The CASE – Wiltshire Award of Excellence in Supported Employmentrecognizes outstanding individuals, or agencies that have made significant contributions to the promotion of full citizenship and personal capacity for persons with disabilities through the facilitation of increased labour market participation and outcomes, within Canada. recognizes outstanding individuals, or agencies that have made significant contributions to the promotion of full citizenship and personal capacity for persons with disabilities through the facilitation of increased labour market participation and outcomes, within Canada.
A collaboration of Éric Daigle, Communications Advisor, SPHERE
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