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​Benefits of Inclusive Employment Part 6: Enhanced Employer Public Image

- by Maia Idzikowski

The world contains an estimated 1.3 billion people with disabilities. Collectively, this is equivalent to the population of China. Over 200 million of these people have intellectual disabilities. The disabled population is a vast market of consumers and potential employees. It has even been stated that “the disability opportunity is comparable with that of the ‘green’ marketing opportunity of recent decades”.

Consumers are drawn to brands with integrity. I try to buy fair trade chocolate, and sweatshop free clothing, and tend to support companies and businesses that celebrate diversity by hiring inclusively. Generally, “People of all ages and backgrounds now prefer brands that are inclusive, socially aware and that act in-line with their values as consumers and employees”.

Companies that promote inclusion by hiring individuals with intellectual disabilities or on the Autism Spectrum are not only seen as fair and just by consumers, but by their employees as well. Employees who are proud of the company they work for are more willing to collaborate, which helps create a cohesive, team oriented workforce. Employees who see their employer in a positive light are less likely to quit their jobs, and more likely to strive for further opportunities within that business or company.

Disney, for instance, is well-known for making their theme parks accessible to all, regardless of ability or disability. Disney, as a result, has a very positive brand image. The Return on Disability Report states that “the company that can solve barriers facing extreme users will improve usability for the average user”, and this is precisely what Disney has done. In making the theme parks accessible for individuals with disabilities, it becomes more accessible for everyone else. The Report also indicates that “the most impressive aspect of how Disney deals with disability is the way in which they talk about it. It is not a compliance issue, but part of the customer experience”.

It all boils down to the fact that hiring inclusively and catering to the 1.3 billion people with disabilities is good for business. By widening an organization’s marketing and hiring bases, consumers and employees will see that organization in a positive light. Overall, an enhanced employer and public image is an obtainable goal for all companies and businesses, and hiring inclusively is the best way to get started.

Ready, Willing, and Able (RWA) is a national initiative partnered with Community Living Manitoba to promote inclusive employment. If you would like to learn more about RWA or inclusive employment, contact:

Brian Rochat at (204) 781-0582

or email:

*All statistics and quotes taken from the 2014 Annual Report on Disability: The Global Economics of Disability.