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Hiring Inclusively Leads to Higher Retention Rates and Greater Job Satisfaction.

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

If you’re an employer wondering how you can make your business more inclusive, SMART Options can help! Did you know people with disabilities make up the largest minority group? Hiring people with disabilities is a tangible example of valuing diversity and good corporate citizenship.

Diversity and social justice are particularly relevant to the business community right now, as consumers are starting to demand companies prioritize these issues. Being a socially-aware business creates a positive work environment and is something that is valued by both employees and customers.

A girl laughing
Jessica; a SMART Options job seeker and coach

There are many benefits of inclusive hiring and they go beyond building a diverse workforce. People with diverse abilities are eager and excited to work and often turn jobs with high employee turnover rates into careers, leading to higher retention rates and improved job satisfaction. Take it from Kolton who has been working at NRB for 2 years: “I work at NRB Modular Solutions. It makes me really happy and I enjoy work a lot. I would like to stay here for as long as I can!” Read more about Koltons Employment Success Story here!

If you ask us here at SMART Options Supported Employment in Kamloops, higher retention rates are something every employer can benefit from.

Here’s why:

Higher Staff Retention Equals More Money in Your Pocket

People with disabilities have 3X higher retention rates resulting in an average savings of $3000 per new hire. Not to mention the knowledge, relationships, and positive company culture that are associated with having long-term employees.

Did you know 86% of workers with a disability, rate average or better in attendance than their non-disabled colleagues? CBC reported that the Canadian Economy loses an estimated $16.6 billion annually due to absenteeism. That figure does not include the cost of replacement workers. A better attendance record can mean big savings and less headaches for employers.

At SMART Options, we connect Kamloops employers and employees with developmental disabilities. As of August 2023, we support 110 job seekers, 96 of which are successfully employed in the Kamloops community! Out of those 96 jobs, 35% of the job seekers have been working at the same business for over 5 years.

Like our hardworking client, Ryan says: “I’ve worked at Costco for 16 years, the thing I love about my job are the people and the workers. Employment makes me feel great!”

A man working at costco
Ryan; A long time Costco employee

People want to Feel Good about Where they Spend their Money

Did you know 87% of people indicate they would prefer to give business to a company that hired people with disabilities and 91% of millennials indicated they would switch brands, to comparable ones, that were associated with a cause?

Hiring people with disabilities helps to fill the employers’ responsibility to reflect the market they serve.

When hiring inclusively you are accessing a largely untapped labour pool with significant purchasing power. You are communicating to these consumers that you are an inclusive and socially aware business that cares about their community. Anyone in the marketing world knows that word of mouth is gold, essentially it is free advertising.

5 Benefits of Word of Mouth Advertising

1. Sales, Sales, Sales

83% of people are more likely to purchase a product or service when they’ve gotten a verbal recommendation from someone they know.

2. Zero Cost

Paid advertising can cost thousands whereas word of mouth is free.

3. Create Credibility

Probably the strongest benefit of word of mouth is its credibility. When you hear something positive from a friend or family member this carries more impact.

4. Long-Term Value

After purchasing products or services based on a referral, customers are more likely to stick with your company. This is because they truly trust in your business and feel a sense of loyalty.

5. Builds Your Brand

Competition in the business world is vast. It’s not enough to have a good website or product, if you don’t provide an edge to stick out from the pack you will be left in the dust. Hiring inclusively generates positive talk about your business and increases sales and exposure, which ultimately will build your company's brand.

A boy in a wheel chair working at home depot
Bronson and his Home Depot employers

This is another great example of how hiring someone with a disability makes good business sense. This opens the door for your organization to be considered more innovative, open to change, and welcoming to a diverse group of people. Leading to an increase in positive word of mouth.

How Customized Employment Can Improve Your Bottom Line

Customized employment is a way of combining tasks from different jobs to increase employee productivity while capitalizing on the skills and strengths of the job seeker. By creating a new position within a workplace it frees specialized employees from having to perform non-specialized tasks

It also brings people from diverse populations into the workplace to contribute their talents to meet critical business needs.

Studies have shown Customized Employment Benefits Employers by:

  • Increases efficiency and productivity in the workplace

  • Reduces the need for costly or ineffective temporary help and reduces overtime wages

  • Fills gaps in the workplace

  • Increases customer satisfaction

In the current economy, businesses are often understaffed and overworked. Creating a customized position can relieve your staff from unwanted stress and can open the doors to a marginalized group of people who are ready and willing to work.


A boy standing in a field
Shinji; A SMART options job seeker

Why is having a job beneficial for a person with a disability?

Having a job is an important way most citizens contribute to society, so having a job offers the opportunity for community inclusion and full citizenship. A job provides an increase in quality of life through greater financial stability, more social connections, better self-esteem, and a sense of belonging.

Don’t just take it from us, according to our client Brennan who has been working in the same job for over 5 years: “Employment is good, it definitely helps you afford things. I’m now driving and have my own car, I live on my own, it’s nice.”

"It’s my pleasure to do a thorough cleaning job. Everyone gives me such amazing comments and people are proud of my work” says Dawn who has been working as a cleaner in Kamloops for over 10 years. If you had a chance to meet Dawn, there is no denying how much joy her job brings her. Seeing people appreciate her work gives her a sense of belonging and a boost to her self-esteem.

A lady cleaning a house
Dawn; A self employed cleaner

An Economic Perspective

“When it comes to finding appropriate jobs, people with disabilities are still heavily disadvantaged. This is mainly because of negative prejudices of employers, which often believe that people with disabilities are not able to perform as efficiently as non-disabled workers, or that they are a burden rather than a source of added value to the company" (Aichner, 2021).

We aren’t looking for charitable job matches. We are looking to help Kamloops employers add value through the benefits of inclusive hiring and SMART Option's unique services. If we can begin to shift our perspective we are one step closer to combating harmful stigmas by increasing awareness around the benefits of having a diverse workforce.

Aichner (2021, Jan 22). The Economic Argument for Hiring People with Disabilities. Nature News. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-021-00707-y

Lastly, research shows that the motivational levels of disabled employees are significantly higher-than-average. Not only is it more difficult for them to be hired, but they want to prove to society that they add value and that they appreciate the opportunity to contribute.

Hiring People with Disabilities in Kamloops

Hiring in Kamloops? Supported employment can help!

You may be a Kamloops employer thinking about hiring someone with diverse abilities, but you aren’t sure where to start or what barriers you might run into.

An outdoor staff photo
Our SMART Options Team!

That’s where SMART Options supported employment services come in. We have been successfully connecting employers and employees with developmental disabilities in Kamloops for over 20 years.

Our services are entirely free of charge for employers and we’re there for you every step of the way. At SMART Options we spend the time to get to know our job seekers and test out their employability skills. We work on goals, job discovery, upgrade training and certificates, interview prep and much more. This extra time together is essential to discover where our job seekers will thrive, leading to mutually beneficial job matches and those high retention rates that we pride ourselves on.

SMART Options is here to help! We’d love to learn more about your business, available positions, and any hiring problems or gaps that you’re experiencing. We’ll then assess our current pool of job-seekers to find the right fit.

Learn more about the benefits of inclusive hiring and our employment services, and contact the team at SMART Options if you have any questions or are ready to get started on your journey to a more inclusive workplace!

Reference: Aichner, T. (2021). The economic argument for hiring people with disabilities. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8(1), 1-4. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-021-00707-y


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