State of the Nation report: Retaining and developing employees with disabilities

29 June 2015

With expenditure on staff turnover in just 5 sectors costing UK business more than £4 billion each year and the average cost of replacing individual employees estimated at £30,000, Business Disability Forum (BDF) is thrilled to release the first ever report about the skills, confidence and practices that help retain and develop employees with disabilities and long term health conditions across private, public and third sector employers in the UK.

Supported by de Poel Community, EY, Royal Mail, Lloyds Banking Group, Department for Work and Pensions, Equal Approach and Remploy Employment Services, the report identifies that more than half of companies cite a lack of skilled and confident line managers as a major barrier to the retention of employees with disabilities. Other key findings include a lack of targeted development opportunities and not enough awareness of disability in the workplace.

The first state of the nation report reveals how widespread good practices are within UK employers, particularly larger employers across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, in retaining and developing employees with disabilities. The report offers some very practical actions for any employer that is committed to improving retention. For example, all employers should distinguish between disability related absence and sickness absence to minimise legal and reputational risks. All employers benefit from investing in more skilled and confident line managers through good quality guidance and training. All employers will do well to embed workplace adjustment processes that ‘de-medicalise’ adjustment needs and provide the right adjustments as quickly as possible. 

We are delighted that there has been such commitment on the part of so many employers to join with us in lifting the lid on what helps and what gets in the way of retaining and developing employees with disabilities. We look forward to future reports evidencing the progress that is being made. 

Click here to download the full report.