A Profitable But Untapped Labour Source
February 2, 2018
Businesses with 20 or more employees were required, to file a 2017 Accessibility Compliance report by December 31, 2017. While the report focuses on accessibility for your clients, we thought you would be interested in the positive experience of a major Canadian firm that utilizes the disabled as part of its workforce.
Sodexo, one of Canada’s most diverse companies, has discovered a market for employees that offers outstanding candidates. That market is Canadians living with disabilities and it is no niche market. Statistically, one in five Canadians has a disability and with that comes an interesting fact.
Reports indicate that 78% Canadians are more likely to buy from a business with a policy of hiring people with disabilities (PWD) over a company that doesn’t.
“As much as it is a nice thing to do, as much as doing any of this corporate social responsibility work is nice to do, the reason we’re doing it is because the marketplace demands it,” explains Katherine Power, Vice President, Communications & Corporate Affairs, Sodexo Canada.
Sodexo is leading the charge in hiring PWD, and it’s reaping the benefits of it. “The more people that we have as part of that workforce that have disabilities, the better customer satisfaction we have,” says Katherine.
To illustrate, Sodexo employee Sean Callaghan and his team of 35 help nourish close to 4,000 workers at Loblaw’s head office in Brampton, Ontario. He stumbled on this pool of talent a few years ago and employees with disabilities now make up about 20% per cent of Sean’s overall team.
Their statistics are impressive. As an example, while many employees, on average, miss 17% of their work shifts, this segment of his staff didn’t miss a single shift over the same period. Callaghan quickly realized it was a sound business decision. “Our successes range from improved staff morale, reduced turnover, improved attendance, reduced accidents and improved customer loyalty,” he says.
Some interesting facts about this pool of potential hires:
- People with disabilities have a 72% higher retention rate at work.
- 90% of people with disabilities rated average or better on job performance.
- A study done by an American drug chain found that employees with disabilities had a 40% lower safety incident rate, a 63% lower rate of absence due to accidents and 78% lower overall costs associated with accidents.
The business case is clear. The impact on workplaces and team morale is proven. But there is one last hurdle. “The biggest challenge is that people don’t know where to look for employees,” says Power. “You can’t just say I want to hire a diverse workforce and think they are all on Workopolis. You have to look for the right connections to be able to find those candidates.”