Why companies should hire more people with disabilities

A columnist shares 5 reasons why hiring PWDs can be good for business

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by Alliah Czarielle |

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Hello, hiring managers and human resources (HR) professionals! I’m writing this column to you, as the spouse of a person with disability (PWD).

My husband, Jared, has severe hemophilia B and a seizure disorder, and we worked together at the same company for a year. I’ve also seen him work from home and have witnessed his dedication to his responsibilities. His bosses have commended him for his excellent work ethic.

These traits aren’t unique to my husband. In fact, many of his colleagues at the hemophilia organization where he works are achievers in their respective fields. There’s a talented singer who recently got his teaching license. A registered psychologist with a master’s degree. A medical technologist working for big pharmaceutical companies. A musician who works by day as a cameraman and filmmaker. An experienced barber who runs his own shop. The list goes on.

If there’s one common thread among them, it’s their dedication to pursuing their passions and achieving their career and life goals.

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I understand why you might have reservations about hiring a PWD. After all, most companies aim to maximize their resources. It’s not practical to hire someone whose attendance and performance are uncertain.

However, upon performing a cost-benefit analysis, you may be surprised to learn that the pros of hiring a PWD often outweigh the cons. Following are several reasons why hiring people with disabilities can be good for business.

1. PWDs almost always go above and beyond expectations

Set a standard, and your disabled employee will likely try to exceed it. Many PWDs I know simply hate disappointing others. They may have spent their whole lives feeling guilty about how their limitations affect others, so many do their absolute best not to disappoint anyone, including employers and colleagues.

It’s also worth noting that working for a greater cause often empowers them, encouraging them to work harder. Like many able-bodied people, they like to see their actions have a positive impact on others.

2. They are resilient and good at overcoming challenges

Jared used to spend weeks on end in the hospital when he was a child. He often says that experience taught him a great lesson in patience. As a result, he rarely gets disappointed if things don’t go his way. He’s also learned to say no to temptations for the sake of achieving a greater goal.

And despite long periods of absence from school, he still managed to graduate at the top of his class! That’s because he never stopped studying, even while recuperating from injuries. He likes to stay busy and keep up with his responsibilities so he doesn’t feel useless while he’s ill.

3. They’re creative

I can no longer recall the number of times Jared has shown up for work with his hand wrapped in a bandage, or scooted around the house on a computer chair while struggling with a leg injury. Even when he’s injured, he manages to find unique and inventive ways to stay productive.

A man sits on the couch wearing a white T-shirt and Paw Patrol pajama shorts. He's balancing his laptop on his lap while scrolling with his right hand. His left hand is bandaged due to a hemophilia-related injury, and he's elevating it by propping his elbow on the armrest of the couch. There's floral artwork on the wall behind him and a window to his left.

Jared works from home with a hand injury. (Photo by Alliah Czarielle)

4. They set an excellent example for their colleagues

In my experience, many employees tend to admire their chronically ill colleagues for their unbeatable work ethic and ability to overcome tough obstacles both personally and professionally.

But we must be careful not to regard them as inspirations solely because they go about life with a disability. We must stay mindful of the systemic issues they face and be accepting of their character flaws. While they certainly have strengths, they may need help in some areas. And that’s OK because they’re human, just like the rest of us.

5. Hiring PWDs helps create a culture of respect

Many companies these days are lauded for practicing corporate social responsibility. Being an equal opportunity employer that doesn’t discriminate against workers or applicants creates a culture of respect within the company that may carry over to dealings with clients.

Ultimately, hiring a PWD would be one of the kindest things you can do. Here in the Philippines, about 43% of people with disabilities remain unemployed, according to a 2013 study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. A significant number of those who are employed either belong to our underdeveloped agricultural sector or are classified as laborers and unskilled workers. Still, I’ve witnessed many young PWDs do their best to acquire new skills, despite their physical limitations and the lack of available medications in our country.

It’s nice when companies are known for having a heart. Employing people with disabilities can help break the stigma that corporations are just soulless machines.

Dearest HR professionals: As representatives of your company, your decisions have the power to make that change. Would you take a chance on a PWD?

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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