Hiring staff who suffer from a disability can add “different cognitive skills” to your team.
This is what Emilie Cole, an employment lawyer from Irwin Mitchell, said during their podcast called “Let’s Talk About It”. Their podcast series is currently discussing what challenges disabled employees face.
Ms Cole explained how someone with a disability can in fact add a unique quality to a team that others might not, while also helping to develop a business’s understanding of disabilities. Ms Cole said:
If you’ve got people with various different cognitive skills in a team, they’re more likely to be more creative and come up with solutions a lot quicker.
Mandy Richmond, occupational therapist believes employer’s thoughts are changing in regards to hiring disabled people.
Ms Richmond said:
There has been a very positive shift in the UK towards having a greater understanding of people with disability. And I wonder if that also came through from the Paralympic sports, the growth within that industry and people’s attention drawn to that.
So, although not perfect, it’s certainly moving in the right direction.
The podcast reminded companies that they are required by law to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled staff members.
However, it also advised disabled employees to be honest and open about their capacity before applying to the role.
Dean Harding, who suffers from a brain injury due to being assaulted in 1997 also spoke about the challenges of gaining employment whilst dealing with a disability. Mr Hardings discussed the importance of “getting the balance right” between employees and employers and making sure the relationship works for both parties.
Mr Harding said:
Take it slow, and gradually if you start from minimal hours, and gradually if you feel capable, build it up.
However, Ms Richmond concluded by saying:
There is no doubt that there is still some education needed for employers in the UK about the unique benefits you can gain from employing someone with a disability.
Although the landscape is definitely changing for the better, more can still be done to overcome the stigma, to help open the doors of opportunity to the disabled community, empower them in work and, in turn, help businesses thrive.
Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.