HR and diversity consultancy, the Clear Company have said employers must step up to support disabled professionals if they are to avoid losing valuable employees. Their call has come in response to new research from Scope which finds that one in five disabled workers have had a request for support or an adjustment rejected by their employer.
Scope polled 216 working age disabled adults in employment in England and also found that 21 per cent of respondents go as far as not disclosing their disability to employers, whilst 13 per cent of those surveyed felt they had been overlooked for a promotion. This is despite the fact that employers have a legal obligation to support disabled colleagues under the Equality Act 2010.
Responding to the findings, Kate Headley, director at The Clear Company, commented; “The fact that one in five disabled people surveyed had requested support or an adjustment, but their employer didn’t provide it for them, is shocking. Aside from the fact that that these businesses are not supporting their employees in the way in which they are legally obliged to, they also risk haemorrhaging vital skills as disengaged staff take their expertise elsewhere.
“Furthermore, according to our analysis, the cost of replacing a member of staff is around 1,000 times more than retaining one,” said Headey. “According to Oxford Economics, the average cost of replacing a colleague is £30,000 when you take into account factors such as lost productivity, training and recruitment costs. Our data shows that the average cost of a reasonable adjustment, on the other hand, is under £30.
Headley concludes Scope’s findings suggest that line mangers need vital support in implementing reasonable adjustments if they are to enjoy the benefits of an engaged, strong and non-transient workforce. Although some may be daunted by the prospect of managing the needs of disabled employees – perhaps because of a fear of getting it ‘wrong’ – the business benefits of addressing the needs of disabled colleagues are undisputable.