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Report: Organizations misunderstand value of employees with disabilities

Times Record - 11/3/2019

Nov. 3--A new report on workplace disability inclusion found many HR professionals and hiring managers are ill-prepared to hire, retain, or advance individuals with disabilities. The report, from the SHRM Foundation and the Workplace Initiative by Understood, traced this knowledge gap back to a lack of workplace training on disability inclusion programs and low awareness of the value that people with disabilities add.

Nearly all HR professionals (97%) and people managers (92%) say that employees with disabilities regularly perform the same or better than their peers without disabilities. Yet, 61 % of managers and 50 percent of HR professionals have never participated in disability inclusion training. Less than 15% of organizations invest in disability inclusion initiatives at work. And just over half of HR professionals do not know or say their organizations do not train managers on disability awareness and/or disability sensitivity.

"It's time we busted some myths about hiring people with disabilities," SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. said in a news release. "We're talking about a high-quality talent pool that remains untapped and underemployed for no good reason."

"Hiring people with disabilities is not only the right thing to do, it's also good for business," Patricia Toledo, vice president of The Workplace Initiative by Understood, noted in the release. "Companies of all sizes can realize significant cost savings from disability inclusion, through tax benefits, reduced turnover, and improved productivity."

New research from the 2019 Employing Abilities @Work Research Report is part of the Employing Abilities @Work initiative, a partnership between the SHRM Foundation, SHRM and the Workplace Initiative . Employing Abilities @Work, launching at SHRM's Inclusion 2019 conference in New Orleans, will help HR professionals and people managers better understand how to build inclusive culture that will hire, retain and advance employees with disabilities.

As part of this initiative, SHRM and the Workplace Initiative will launch a new training for HR professionals, called the Employing Abilities @Work Certificate in January 2020. This new certificate will teach best practices in implementing disability inclusion.

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