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Why Employ Persons With Disabilities

By Deb Russell

Man in wheelchair shaking hands with sitting man full

Increase Retention

Employing more people with disabilities increases retention (decreases turnover). Not all companies are plagued by turnover woes, however, almost all companies can benefit financially and otherwise from increasing retention rates.

Turnover is a Well Documented Expense

Direct and indirect costs include staff time, advertising, fee-based services (drug and credit screens, recruiters), lost investment in training, a larger burden on remaining employees who must shoulder the load and it is a morale buster. Employees must devote time to sifting through resumes, interviews, new-hire orientation, training and rebuilding the teams. To replace an hourly worker (annual earning less than $30,000), experts estimate that a company must spend, on average, 16% of the salary. For your worker earning $12/hour, that cost is around $4,000, per new hire. For employees earning higher hourly wages, or annual salaries, the average estimate is 50% of their annual salary.

Hiring People with Disabilities Increases Retention

Hiring people with disabilities is impressive because it not only reduces their turnover, but it also influences turnover in the remaining workforce. People who work at a company that openly and actively hires people with disabilities have higher engagement scores and show higher loyalty, which influences their retention. Not all companies reveal detailed data related to turnover and the impact of hiring people with disabilities.

Data Shows It

But research shows that some companies are documenting significant differences after employing people with disabilities and some companies actually have quantified the changes.

Table showing turnover improvements due to disability inclusion

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Deb Russell

President, Deb Russell Inc.
Deb Russell has focused her career on helping business leverage the value proposition of employing people with disabilities. From 2006-2012, she shepherded Walgreens legendary efforts to employ people with disabilities, first in the distribution centers, exceeding the goal that 10% of the workforce be people with disabilities. She then designed models for retail and headquarters that Walgreens continues use today. Through her work, Deb has helped over 100 companies design and implement their own efforts to employ people with disabilities. She also helps agencies hone their approach to partnering with companies to enhance disability inclusive employment. Deb has presented internationally and testified to the US Congress about Employing People with Disabilities. For more visit her website: www.debrussellinc.com

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