Successful Businesses Know Business
Where should small business owners turn for guidance on how to survive and thrive in today's stormy economic environment? One logical source is other business leaders—in particular, those whose management practices and priorities have already proven to successfully weather significant challenges.
The recently released Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities is built upon insight from such leaders. Featuring up-to-date research, video clips and real-world examples, this new online, multi-media resource illustrates how people with disabilities add value to America's businesses across six key concerns common to all employers, regardless of size or industry: return on investment, human capital, marketing, innovation, diversity and social responsibility.
Perhaps the most pressing of these concerns, especially in volatile times, is the first—Return on Investment. While many investments aren't yielding much these days, employing people with disabilities is an especially safe bet. Workers with disabilities help businesses gain a competitive edge through divergent thinking. They are experienced problem solvers who think creatively about how to accomplish tasks, solve problems and confront business challenges. Furthermore, some companies realize direct returns via tax benefits.
In recent years, Getloaded.com, a Midlothian, Virginia-based small business that leverages Internet technology to help trucking companies keep their trucks loaded and moving, has experienced the "disability dividend" first hand. Three members of its customer-service team have disabilities, and according to President Bryan Jones, these individuals' job performance and organizational commitment surpass expectations "tenfold."
The costs involved from a recruiting perspective are "minimal compared to the return you get by bringing on excellent employees that help embrace that customer-service spirit," Jones said. "I really feel like it's going to be something that's going to help our company continue to grow."
The Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities, which includes Frequently Asked Questions on disability employment, is one of many resources available from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to help America's businesses implement policies and programs that foster more inclusive workplaces.
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