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Employer Assistance & Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): A service of The Viscardi Center.
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Strategic Advantage of Diversity

Benefits of Diversity

Diverse workplaces have a distinct strategic advantage over less diverse competitors.

Some of the most significant benefits of workforce diversity include:

  • The opportunity to capitalize on the diverse knowledge-base of workers when relating to different groups, including customers, partners and staff
  • Increased innovation and creativity
  • Reduced skills shortages
  • Improved customer services
  • Increased opportunities for external interactions and communications
  • Reputational benefts related to valuation of social responsibility
  • Increased organizational stability

Embracing diverse workplaces is increasingly important in light of demographic shifts as millions of baby boomers enter retirement and minority groups make up an increasingly large share of the workforce.

Disability IS Diversity

Traditionally, workplace diversity has focused on race and gender, but in more recent years this concept has evolved to include a much wider range of attributes, including disability. Disability is a unique diversity category that crosses all racial, gender, education, and socioeconomic lines.

People with disabilities account for over 5.5% of those employed nationwide 1. While the precise percentage varies among sectors, individuals with disabilities represent an important segment of every organization's diverse workforce. 


The Value of Diverse Perspectives 

 JWPlayer content

Moving from Diversity to Inclusion

Workplace inclusion goes beyond employing individuals with diverse backgrounds to creating an environment where every employee is valued. Organizational structures, values, policies, and day-to-day practices all influence the degree to which employees with disabilities feel truly valued by and included in their workplaces.

Benefits of Inclusion

Effective inclusive workplace practices and policies relate directly to key metrics important to overall organizational success. As employers move beyond simply recruiting a defined number or percentage of candidates from diverse backgrounds toward creating workplaces that value a broad range of perspectives, they may realize performance benefits in key areas:

  • Increased employee:
    • Engagement
    • Job satisfaction
    • Commitment, or loyalty, to company
    • Tenure, or length of time with company
    • Organizational citizenship behaviors
  • Reduced employee:
    • Turnover intention

Learn more about Workplace Inclusion

American Community Survey:

Other Resources

Diversifying your Workforce: A Four Step Reference Guide to Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Employees with Disabilities<>
This General Services Administration comprehensive reference guide provides information for employers on recruiting, hiring and retaining employees with disabilities.

Opening Doors to All Candidates: Tips for Ensuring Access for Applicants with Disabilities<>
This Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) resource provides information on hiring procedures, resources and strategies useful to employers in integrating people with disabilities into the workplace.

Asperger Syndrome Training & Employment Partnership<>
Asperger Syndrome Training & Employment Partnership (ASTEP) is a non-profit organization that creates and supports programs that result in inclusive work places in the private and public sector for people with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and high functioning autism (HFA). ASTEP promotes awareness by educating and training large national employers about the benefits of hiring individuals with AS/HFA and the accommodations they may need. ASTEP also works with high quality vocational rehabilitation programs and large employers to implement integrated employment programs that allow employers to benefit from the special talents of employees with AS/HFA.

Diverse Perspectives: People with Disabilities Fulfilling Your Business Goals<>
This resource provides strategies for employers in building partnerships in order to incorporate individuals with disabilities into their diversity goals. <>
DiversityInc is a leading publication on diversity and business that often publishes articles discussing disability as a part of workplace diversity. Topics include the business case for hiring, promoting and marketing to people with disabilities, workplace trends, laws and best practices for employers.

Making Work Happen<>
The Making Work Happen toolkit, from the Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University, is designed to enable employers to integrate disability into their diversity and inclusion efforts and to work effectively with disability service providers.

U.S. Business Leadership Network<>
The U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN®) is a national disability organization that serves as the collective voice for over 60 Business Leadership Network affiliates across North America, representing over 5,000 employers. The USBLN helps build workplaces, marketplaces, and supply chains where people with disabilities are respected for their talents. USBLN has employer-focused resources on disability employment, current campaigns, and other best practice information.

Page last updated on Tuesday, September 10, 2013