Focusing on Diversity and Inclusion is all the rage! Why? As businesses face increasing pressure to innovate to stay ahead of the market, they are looking for strategic ways to capture new ideas. The people most apt to innovate are the people that world isn’t optimized for, and that includes people with disabilities of all types. This mindset of “get it done” no matter what the obstacles can be used to a business’s advantage.
According to the University of New Hampshire annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are 334,505 working-age people living with disabilities in Maryland and among them, 137,517, or 41.1 percent have jobs. National Employers like CVS, Wal-mart, Starbucks and Weis who understand that people with disabilities can bring valuable talents and unique ways of thinking to the workforce – what does this look like for the small business owner?
Workforce shortages in every industry and of every size can benefit from inclusive hiring strategies. The savvy business owner evaluates not only the market they have, but the market they want to have. Employers that have employees from all walks of life create an environment that allows the company to view the world with a bigger lens that understands and penetrates all potential customer bases.
Ask yourself these questions – what does my company profile look like vs. my potential or existing customer base, have we created diversity and inclusion goals, and what are the tactics we are using to reach across all populations? You may be surprised what an honest evaluation reveals. A great free guide to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace can be found at Glassdoor – https://resources.glassdoor.com/diversity-inclusion-in-the-workplace.html. Download it, evaluate yourself, and see if you can make some incremental changes that will make your company better at this crucial component in resilient business development.