Leading by Supporting an Inclusive Workplace: The Key to Business Success
IN TODAY’S FAST-PACED and competitive business landscape, effective leadership is more crucial than ever. During the pandemic, leaders emphasized inclusion as an integral part of their progressive work environment.
Working from home not only increased the hiring of persons with disabilities (PwD), but it was also a catalyst for workplace evolution where more collaborative and empathetic teams were created with a focus on nurturing all talent.
On May 10, 2023, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published its new study outlining actions that businesses can take to address attrition risks. After surveying 28,000 employees in 16 countries, their report revealed that “25% of employees around the world selfidentify as having a disability or medical condition that limits a major life activity.” This is drastically different than the 4% to 7% that companies are reporting.
Key findings in a recent study from the Conference Board of Canada emphasized: “Canadian employers can improve career opportunities for PwD by providing more disability awareness training in the workplace, implementing accessible recruitment and onboarding strategies, and providing necessary accommodation from the start to recruitment and onboarding.” Leaders need to help change the way employees living with disabilities or medical conditions are perceived in the workplace. Throughout an employee’s lifecycle, their needs can change and accommodation plans must be dynamic to support our future Canadian workforce.
As discovered by BCG, businesses cannot afford to ignore 25% of their workforce. It’s possible for leaders to undertake some practical steps to get better retention with persons living with disabilities to ensure that they will stay on the job. The study is a global overview, however, there are many leaders in the National Capital Region who are committed to disability inclusion. Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care Inc. (PPRC), a local disability service provider has worked with Fieldless Farms and Evripos who are showing a true commitment to inclusion and reaping the rewards.
Their hiring of persons living with disabilities brings them diverse perspectives and experiences resulting in fresh ideas and solutions. They are creating a positive workplace atmosphere that benefits all employees. There is strong evidence linking improved employee morale and engagement to inclusive business practices. These companies also enjoy a positive reputation in the community which attracts talent and customers. By actively recruiting from a disability talent pool such as the one at PPRC, organizations can tap into a rich source of skilled and capable job seekers. This supports recruiters in widening their talent pipeline and filling positions with highly qualified candidates.
Over 6.2 million Canadians or 22% of our population report living with a disability and this demographic is expected to grow in the years ahead. Hiring PwD can provide valuable insights into meeting the needs of customers and help businesses understand the challenges firsthand, especially on how to deliver more accessible and customerfriendly products or services. It’s anticipated that by 2030, this consumer group’s spending will be up to $316 billion, and it makes good business sense to support the 25% in your workplace.
In this rapidly changing world, companies that prioritize inclusion as a leadership principle will stand out as an employer of choice, build a more skilled and engaged workforce, and create a positive and forward-thinking culture that can adapt to change. This will ensure long-term business success and sustainability. When leaders invest in their people, they also invest in their future and this strategy will pay dividends for years to come.