The business benefits
Disability-smart companies understand the needs and expectations of a diverse consumer base and maximise the productivity and creativity of all their employees; disabled and non-disabled. There are many reasons why becoming disability-smart will be good for your company. Some of them are more relevant and more important than others, depending on your priorities and the challenges you face.
New technologies are an opportunity and challenge for every organisation. Organisations with the skills and expertise to use technology to liberate the talent and contribution of disabled people are best placed to become successful early adopters.
Companies have demonstrated that wider customer markets are adopting products that are developed for older and disabled people. Research by Microsoft revealed that even people who do not consider themselves disabled can benefit from accessible and assistive technology. Becoming disability-smart will help your organisation to develop innovative product and service offerings as well as tap into the multi-billion 'Purple Pound' market.
Recruitment and management
Organisations and managers with the confidence to successfully recruit and retain disabled talent do better recruiting everyone on the basis of capability and potential. BT estimates employers can save more than £80,000 per employee by improving retention of valued employees who become disabled. What is more, managers who take a leadership position on disability develop the ability to recognise and enable human potential and gain technical skills in change management and job design.
Investing in and managing adjustments for disabled employees develops expertise that helps the whole workforce by enabling every employee make the most of their potential. The result is higher productivity and lower costs. Organisations in the Best Place to work ranking of 2010 have lower than average levels of sickness absence.
Disabled people are more loyal to companies that provide good customer service related to their disability. With the growing importance of the ‘Purple Pound’, there is an opportunity to build outstanding customer relationships with high levels of satisfaction and more importantly retention.
Becoming disability-smart is an opportunity to build a reputation for corporate social responsibility. We believe it is also an effective first step to addressing the whole range of diversity issues faced by organisations.