Better integrating employees with disabilities

N°325a – Synopsis (8 p.) – Diversity and Inclusion
Better integrating employees with disabilities
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People with disabilities face considerable difficulties in finding employment within companies. Beyond regulations and quotas, how can we act to enable disabled employees to make their full contribution?

Due to the progression of certain illnesses and to the extension of life expectancy, the number of people with disabilities is continually on the rise. Some 15% of the world's population is thought to be in this situation.

Companies cannot ignore this phenomenon. The issue is firstly regulatory, with a minimum threshold of employees with disabilities to be integrated. It is also an ethical one, at a time when equity and inclusion are among the key areas of corporate social responsibility for many organizations. And it makes good business sense: why deprive ourselves of certain talents just as recruitment difficulties are multiplying? Finally, becoming “disability-friendly” enables companies to sharpen their sensitivity to the needs of a broad category of people who are customers as well.

But once the principle of integrating employees with disabilities has been established, numerous questions arise. What material difficulties will need to be resolved, bearing in mind that a wide variety of realities hide behind this coverall term? A motor or sensory disability does not involve the same challenges and adjustments as a degenerative disease such as multiple sclerosis, or a depressive or bipolar disorder. What impact will the disability have on the person's ability to carry out their tasks? Some conditions can prove very disabling. Others, conversely, can become an advantage, either because they have led the person to develop a particular fighting spirit—Richard Branson, for one, claims that he would never have achieved such success had he not suffered from dyslexia—or because they are an asset in particular circumstances. In Latin America, for example, Securitas employs wheelchair-bound security guards. They possess better peripheral vision to spot pickpockets and are better able to defend themselves, as they are more agile and muscular in the torso. Finally, how will the person fit into the team, knowing that everyone will have to make adjustments when faced with an employee with specific abilities and needs?

Faced with such questions, it is not uncommon to have to radically rethink one's operating methods. But the effort is well worth it, and ultimately enables better consideration of everyone's needs.

In this synopsis:
– Managing an employee with a disability
– Becoming a disability-friendly company
– Avoiding awkwardness with a colleague with a disability

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