The business case for inclusion

Beyond ‘feeling good’ about employing a worker with a disability, there are numerous benefits to your bottom line for doing so.

In the first of its kind in Australia a recent Diversity Council Australia (DCA)/Suncorp [email protected] Index surveyed 3000 Australian workers and found that inclusion is good for customers and for employees.

The study found that employees in inclusive teams are 19 times more likely to be very satisfied with their job compared to workers in non-inclusive workplaces

(58 per cent to three per cent) and four times more likely to stay with their employer over the coming year (62 per cent to 16 per cent). Clearly, staff-satisfaction levels affect staff-retention rates, which in turn affect the costs associated with turnover. Right there, before we go into any depth, is your first reason to implement an inclusive workplace.

But if this doesn’t convince you, perhaps these reasons, taken from Diversity Journal, and fleshed out by yours truly, will take you closer…

Increased worker commitment to and identification with organisational success

In the right job match, a more committed worker you will not find. As well, according to data, people with disability take less sick-leave than their colleagues.

Improved employee health and wellbeing

People enjoy coming to and partaking in work at more inclusive workplaces. Though it can be hard to start hanging out with people who aren’t just like you, actually, it’s better for you and your customers if you do.

Increased employee investment in work performance

Most people with disability have to demonstrate persistent effort to meet life’s challenges to the degree that many of their non-disabled peers can’t imagine. This has a huge effect on work ethic. The DCA/Suncorp study found that workers in inclusive teams are almost five times more likely to indicate their team provides excellent customer/client service, 10 times more likely to be highly effective and nine times more likely to innovate.

Reduced perception of discrimination and inequity

I’d argue that an inclusive workforce engenders not just a perception of reduced discrimination and inequality.

Improved cooperation and collaboration between co-workers, employees and management

In the past thirty years of working in disability employment services, I have found that workplace morale increases mightily after a worker with a disability starts work. Even after staff no longer need to help ‘the new woman in the chair’ fit in, each person’s caring side shows up and stays.

Clearly, all of the above leads to increased productivity. And that aint bad.

- Martin Wren