Talent Ocean Dispels Myths About Employing People With Disabilities

Talent Ocean Dispels Myths About Employing People With Disabilities from Talent Ocean

By: Talent Ocean   09-06-2011
Keywords: Recruitment Agency, Employment Vacancies, job

Despite the fact that it is a legal requirement to have 2% of a company’s workforce represented by people with disabilities, this easy target is still not being met.  


The problem seems to be an aversion to employ people with disabilities due to various misconceptions, says Talent Ocean, the online talent management division of workforce management solutions provider the Kelly Group.


“The first is the mistaken belief that people with disabilities do not have the right skills,” says Jennifer Mathews, online marketing manager.  “The fact is that people with disabilities develop important critical thinking skills.  Whether through birth or because they acquired one, people with disabilities, must develop other strengths, traits and qualities including perseverance, problem solving, goal setting and determination, all of which make them valuable and marketable in the workplace,” she says.


The second misconception is that supports in the workplace are too costly.  Many believe that they will have to change their physical structures, every desk and every doorway to accommodate people with disabilities.  However, research done in America found that the vast majority (73%) of employers reported that their workers with disabilities did not require any additional support structures.


“It should also be noted that employers accommodate their able-bodied staff all the time.  Examples include permission to go to the doctor, not asking an employee with a bad back to lift a heavy box or not requiring an employee with poor eyesight to read fine print, all of which cost nothing,” says Mathews.  “If you are doing something out of the ordinary, you are accommodating the people you work with without even thinking about it.”


The third misconception is that saying the wrong things in the workplace will offend employees with disabilities.  “At the Kelly Group, we see the fear factor with many of our clients,” he says.  “They are worried about saying the wrong thing, embarrassing themselves or setting themselves up for a lawsuit.  But that’s not the case at all.  People with disabilities appreciate “people first” language.  Employers need only remember to put the person first and the disability second.  This means referring to workers as “people with disabilities” not “the disabled” and describing an individual as a “person who uses a wheelchair,” not one who is “wheelchair bound.”  “Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are unsure of what to do,” says Mathews.


The fourth misconception is that co-workers will be uncomfortable and that their productivity will be negatively affected.  In fact, workers with disabilities have a positive effect on co-workers.  Watching someone who has overcome a major challenge in his or her life raises morale and provides a good working environment for everyone.


The last misconception is that getting information on how to hire people with disabilities is time consuming and complicated.  There are a number of NGOs in South Africa that look after and promote the interests of people with disabilities including the South African National Council for the Blind, the QuadPara Association of South Africa, the Association for the Physically Disabled and Rehab, an NGO that focuses on the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities.


“These organisations will meet with companies to help address the psychological barriers employers and staff might face when employing people with disabilities.  As part of the education process, they will cover the ‘Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of Disability in the Workplace’, which is a guide for promoting fair treatment and reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities,” says Mathews.

Keywords: career, Employment Vacancies, job, Recruitment Agency