INCLUSIVE WORK CULTURE: Improve your Profitability and Competitive Advantage

Posted by Paola Velasquez on Apr 4, 2023 2:31:33 PM


Some challenges for manufacturers in 2023 continue to be recruitment & retention and meeting customer expectations, especially as customers are asking about your social responsibility.  These challenges have led to high turnover, inability to meet production demands, customer loss, and lack of market expansion.

Companies that have embraced an inclusive work culture and employed people with disabilities are reaping the benefits of innovation through diversity of thought, improved profitability, and competitive advantage. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, one in four US adults has a disability and of these only about 20% are employed. The reality is at some point we will either have a disability ourselves or know someone who has a disability.

But why are people with a disability often overlooked when companies strategize to expand their skilled talent pool or to expand their customer base? Many employers fear people with disabilities present more costs than benefits and are reluctant to invest in them. While others are not familiar with the disability community and fear saying or doing the wrong thing.

To become more inclusive and have potential growth in your workplace, workforce, and marketplace:

  • Expand your circle and get to know the disability culture.
  • Ensure that all qualified applicants have equal access to apply for a job posting by removing potential barriers, have built-in accessibility features, or offer alternative ways to apply.
  • Remove bias in hiring decisions and base hiring decisions on skills and qualifications not on fears and stereotypes. Challenge any myths of people with disabilities can’t work, can only do basic unskilled work, or are not as productive as others.
  • Be clear about the workplace environment conditions in your job descriptions.
  • Offer reasonable accommodation, which is not solely wheelchair accessibility. Reasonable accommodation may include allowing individuals to sit during their shift or enlarging the font on work instructions.
  • Expand your pipeline search. Partner with a veteran’s career group or neurodivergent career group to help create hiring programs. Reach out to community colleges and ask for qualified students with a disability interested in an internship program.
  • Expand your market with digital inclusion. Websites which are not accessible are in danger of losing customers to competitors who already have integrated accessibility.
  • Embrace diversity of thought. People with disabilities will provide a different perspective and can drive innovation. Curb cuts created to allow wheelchair users access from the sidewalk to the street have also helped mothers with strollers, children on bicycles, shopping carts, etc. Making things more accessible expands your market.
  • Be adaptable. Embrace change and lean on others to bring alternative solutions.

Schedule a 15 minute DEI call with Paola Velasquez, Director of DEI in Manufacturing at IMEC.

Paola Velasquez

Written by Paola Velasquez

Topics: manufacturing, Diversity and Inclusion, diversity, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, DEI, workplace culture, inclusive culture, inclusion

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