What Every Employer Should Know About Hiring and Engaging People With Disabilities

RUBY STORM GREEN & PATRICIA CALICA

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It’s time to update your thinking on hiring and engaging people with disabilities. Being intentional about how you engage employees with disabilities is not only ethical, it’s also a talent acquisition strategy that can benefit your company long-term. 

The population of people with disabilities is an untapped talent market. This group is made up of many incredible individuals with invaluable skills and knowledge. 

The Singaporean government does not have specific anti-discrimination laws in place but it released its Enabling Masterplan 2030 last year. This latest roadmap aims to achieve 40% employment for PWDs and place around 10,000 people from this sector into the workforce by 2030. Indeed, interest among companies in hiring persons with disabilities has increased by 30% since the plan was announced.

Still, many companies continue to struggle in ensuring that their workplace includes employees with disabilities. NGOs in Singapore believe that until proper legislation has been adopted, discriminative practices and attitudes toward a person with disabilities will continue in the country’s workplaces. 

At Great Place To Work®, our research tells us that employees who feel like they can bring their whole selves to work, and disclose their support needs without hesitation, are exponentially more likely to give their best every day. 

In other words, psychological safety leads to engaged and thriving employees. On the Great Place To Work Trust Index™ Survey, disclosing a disability is not required. Our research on the link between business resilience and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) has shown that for every 10% of employees that chose not to respond on the survey, there was a 6-point decrease in a company’s overall levels of trust, pride, and camaraderie. 

Hiding one’s identity in a survey can signify that a workplace culture suffers from favoritism, toxic work relationships, and microaggressions. 

Psychological safety helps team members feel comfortable sharing opposing ideas or presenting new ones. But central to psychological safety is the willingness to be vulnerable in front of others. 

In our research, employees who believe their managers “care about them as a person” are 36% more likely to bring innovative ideas to your workplace. 

The payoff is clear: Supporting employees with a disability will help your business thrive. 

What is considered a disability in the workplace?

When we think of a disability, we often think of something we can easily see, such as having difficulty walking or using a wheelchair. Those “visible disabilities” are usually prioritized in professional and public settings over other disabilities. 

In recent years, more research has been emphasizing “invisible disabilities.” These are disabilities that can’t be easily identified by looking at someone. Examples can include neurodivergence, PTSD, and depression. 

Singapore’s Enabling Masterplan defines disability as “those whose prospects of securing, retaining places and advancing in education and training institutions, employment and recreation as equal members of the community are substantially reduced as a result of physical, sensory, intellectual and developmental impairments.” 

On the Great Place To Work Trust Index™ Survey, employees are considered to have a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or if they have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition. 

Some disabilities may not immediately come to mind. For example, major depressive disorder, diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder, learning disabilities, anxiety, migraine headaches, and gastrointestinal disorders. 

In Singapore, approximately 3% of its citizens or more than 110,000 Singaporeans have some form of disability according to the nonprofit group Disability:IN. 

How businesses benefit by hiring people with disabilities

Recruiting and hiring people with disabilities isn’t just the morally and ethically right thing to do. It can also influence business outcomes such as innovation, inclusivity, customer growth, and profitability. 

1. Spur innovation

Hiring people with disabilities can expand your opportunities for innovation. That’s because people with disabilities tend to be excellent problem solvers — many have ample experience thinking of creative solutions to problems as they navigate a world that is often not built for them. They can have a unique perspective on challenges and are often persistent when encountering a roadblock. 

KPMG, Great Place to Work Certified™ company on the Fortune 100 Best Company to Work For® List recognizes the value of hiring people with disabilities and has prioritized recruiting and increasing its support for people with visible and invisible disabilities. It has developed an accessibility strategy and launched Neurodiversity@Work to help unleash the potential of neurodiverse talent at KPMG and for its clients. 

The program has helped KPMG establish a university council with 12 schools, engage more than 45 volunteers, enter two formal partnerships, create six job openings, and initiate nearly two dozen internal and external marketing initiatives. 

2. Improve bottom-line performance

Hiring people with disabilities also has proven financial benefits. A 2018 Accenture study found that companies that were inclusive towards people with disabilities had 28% higher revenue on average over a four year period compared to their less-inclusive counterparts. 

Employers who create a culture of accommodation and accessibility for employees with disabilities lower barriers to performance. 

Think about it: When an employee living with chronic migraines doesn’t have the workplace flexibility to visit a doctor or fit work around their migraine, it adds up to countless hours of lost production, thought, innovation, and advancement. 

3. Understand and target your customers more accurately

People with disabilities make up a sizable portion of the consumer marketplace. Having more employees with disabilities can help ensure that products are being designed with this population in mind to reach more customers. 

4. Promote an environment of inclusion and understanding

Hiring people with disabilities fosters an inclusive work environment. Diverse teams create bigger and more frequent opportunities for cultural exchange. Team members can witness the experiences of employees with disabilities, building greater empathy and awareness across people from diverse backgrounds. 

Hiring (and keeping) people with disabilities – 6 tips for a successful employee life cycle

Here are six ways to make your organization more appealing to current and potential employees with disabilities. 

1. Detail accessibility in job postings

List any potential accessibility concerns when advertising a job and prepare recruiters to answer applicants’ questions. This includes elevator access, stairs, curbs, and width of passageways. Less obvious factors, such as harsh fluorescent lighting, loud noises, accessible desks, and lack of cell service or internet, could be deciding factors for an applicant. 

Taking the time to outline these details in your job posting sends a strong message to people with disabilities that their needs are considered and cared for. 

2. Train managers on the accommodation process

Managers are often the first people an employee with a disability will go to for guidance with accommodations during the hiring process or on the job. Ensuring that managers have a working knowledge of the accommodation process and can support their employees while they work (including opportunities to be social, network, and celebrate as a team) is vital, especially since there is often a stigma around having a disability. 

100 Best Companies like Experian realize the importance of inclusive training. Experian employees now have access to a “Disability Fundamentals for Managers” course through Disability:IN — a 30-minute interactive training that helps managers learn about disability awareness, etiquette, disclosures, and accommodations, as well as how to hold accessible meetings and events. 

Giving all employees, especially managers, a high-level overview of what it means to be an employee with disabilities helps build empathy and develop inclusive leadership skills. 

3. Focus on inclusive benefits

For many employees with a disability, benefits can be a deciding factor in choosing a job. If someone has regular doctors’ visits or expensive medications, they may not be able to wait 60 or 90 days for their health insurance to kick in. 

In addition, make sure that your healthcare plans have adequate coverage and listen to feedback from employees with disabilities about what other benefits they need. Mental health resources, ergonomic equipment, robust short- and long-term disability, and paid medical leave are all benefits that support people with disabilities.

4. Fit disabilities into the larger DEIB and values discussion

When it comes to DEIB, disabilities are often left out of the conversation. Educating employees about the experiences of people with disabilities and normalizing the concept of accommodations can help remove the stigma and ensure an accessible work environment.  

Certified workplace Rocket Companies developed the “empathy generator,” a tool that helps employees create products that are accessible to people with disabilities. It simulates the experience of having the disabilities that team members such as coders, designers, and researchers are trying to accommodate. 

Most people who do not live with disabilities may find it difficult to fully conceptualize the barriers that people with disabilities face daily, so these kinds of tools and exercises can help increase awareness. 

5. Allow flexible schedules and remote work

The flexibility of remote work compared to in-person work can be especially valuable for employees with disabilities. For example, if someone has chronic pain and cannot drive an hour to get to the office, they cannot accept a job. If they can work remotely, they are better able to manage their pain and work in a safe environment. 

6. Ensure that training and development opportunities are inclusive

Present information through different modalities, including visual, written, and auditory. For audio or video components, ensure that captions and transcripts are available and work with screen readers. 

Wise organizations are catching on to the value of hiring and engaging people with disabilities. Research by the Economics Innovation Group found that people with a disability aged 25 to 54 were 3.5% more likely to be employed in the second quarter of 2022 than pre-pandemic. How is your organization adapting and making your workplace more attractive to employees with disabilities? 

Want to know exactly how you can support your employees?

Being intentional about your DEIB initiatives starts with understanding your workforce in detail. Great Place To Work Certification™ helps you measure and track your employee experience with our research-backed Trust Index Survey. Ask us today about how to get started on your Certification and access the workforce data you need to improve your workplace for diverse groups, including those living with a disability. 

RUBY STORM GREEN & PATRICIA CALICA

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Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work® Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces™ in Healthcare & Biopharma List. This list recognizes exemplary companies in the healthcare & biopharma industry.

Recognized as a global hub for medical technology and research, Singapore has attracted top healthcare and biopharma talents and companies from around the world. It has become the center for essential healthcare services and innovations with its world-class research institutes, academic medical centers, and industry clusters.

In turn, the healthcare and biopharma sectors play a critical role in the country’s economic competitiveness, sustainability, and innovation. These industries have significantly helped in the overall improvement of public health and well-being of the people of Singapore and its neighboring countries.

The inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma List puts the spotlight on the organizations that are dedicated to providing employee satisfaction and engagement, and their commitment to excellence in the industry.

The companies in our Great Place To Work Certified™ community have the premier distinction that helps attract the best talent, build your employer brand, and secure a competitive advantage. To achieve this, they built a working environment that is purpose-driven and people-first. These companies have demonstrated that showing authentic care, prioritizing employee’s holistic well-being, and building a culture of trust go hand in hand with growth and success.

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma, Great Place to Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place to Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place to Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place to Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work™ Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Technology List. This List recognizes exemplary companies in the information and communication technologies industry in four categories:

  • Micro category (10–29 employees)
  • Small (30-99 employees)
  • Medium (100-999 employees)
  • Large (> 1000 employees)

With Singapore’s ambition to be recognized as a regional technology hub, the influx of technology firms (around 80 of the world’s top 100 technology firms have a presence here) and global rankings that place us a leading technology hub outside of San Francisco, the establishment of a Singapore Best Workplaces List in Technology is indeed a timely and needed one. Technology firms in Singapore are characterized by hyper-growth and ambitious expansion plans. This means a continuous war for talent in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving industry.

To maintain our lead as a technology and innovation hub, the ability to attract, retain and sustain skilled talent is critical. We are proud that companies in our Great Place To Work®-Certified community List have built a high-trust culture, engaged employees and maximized their potential to facilitate innovation. They are purpose-driven and adopt a people-first mindset. These are companies that have shown that authentic care and employee well-being need not be compromised for ambitious growth, and that it is possible for businesses to scale up quickly and responsibly. Their culture and core values are embodied in every individual—from senior leadership to rank-and-file employees—and differentiate them from their competitors, priming them to be powerful magnets for top talent.

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category

 

Methodology

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces™️, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing close to 70,000 employees across different industries in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. 85% of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do.

Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category