Survey Reveals Gaps In Supporting Employees With Disabilities
Many employers are taking steps to include people with disabilities, but a new national survey finds that businesses often don’t take full advantage of successful strategies.
A poll of over 3,000 supervisors at companies across the nation found that several tactics employers find useful — like partnering with disability organizations or working with job coaches — often go untapped.
The survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability for the Kessler Foundation is believed to be the first looking at the viewpoint of supervisors who oversee people with and without disabilities in the workplace.
Those who participated were asked about their company’s approach to hiring, training and retention and whether practices were as effective for employees with disabilities as compared to other staffers.
“Many companies are having difficulty finding qualified candidates … but are underutilizing practices that can help them achieve these goals,” said Rodger DeRose, president and CEO of the Kessler Foundation.
Specifically, DeRose noted that many employers found partnering with a disability organization “overwhelmingly effective” for recruiting, but just 27 percent of businesses were doing so.
Likewise, the survey found that while short-term job coaches and training programs were helpful, fewer than 1 in 5 companies use such services. And, centralized accommodations systems were also rated highly, but were used by just 16 percent of employers.
While most supervisors who participated in the research thought their employer’s hiring and training practices worked well, they indicated by wide margins that the approaches were less effective for those with disabilities.
“This survey gives us new direction for increasing inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace,” DeRose said. “When there is commitment from upper management and effective practices are in place, all employees and their supervisors achieve success and businesses reap the benefits of their diverse and productive workforce.”