Do not consider hiring a Disabled person until you have read this.

There are many articles written about hiring disabled workers but almost all are written by government agencies whose interests are to get disabled people into work.

I thought it was time that an article was written by an actual employer who has used disabled workers. The following is my experiences and Benefits of hiring disabled person.

Lady cleaning window

I was the manager of a contract cleaning company which had the contract to clean a large supermarket chain. My supermarket was in a working town but was located in an area with large houses, in the better part of town. A lot of these houses were owned by professional people many who worked long hours and had their own gardeners cleaners etc.

I was restricted to what I could pay the cleaners because the contract had to earn a profit, and no other financial incentives were available to me.

From the start of my contract, it was apparent that there was a problem hiring and retaining staff. Peopl could work locally in the large houses for better pay.

I had a constant struggle to find good staff and used many forms of advertising from local notice boards,word of mouth and newspaper adds.

man reading newspaper

Any time I had staff leave. I had to train the new staff, and guide them through the safety aspects of cleaning a working bakery and butchers.

It was a few months into my contract that I was approached by a Lady from a government trust to see if I could offer employment to a young man with learning difficulties.

My background is in industrial engineering and coal mining, when these industrys closed I found myself in my current position after doing similar work on a working holiday.

children cleaning

 I had any no experience at all in working with disabled people apart from some of the old guys in the stores at work who had been injured, these guys had a bad leg or a physical injury, I had dealt with no one with learning disabilities.

I was hesitant to say yes until I had more information and I needed to check with my employer that our insurance was covered etc. I Also spoke to Anne (the lady from the trust) about My ability to train and support this young man.

I was told by my employer that it was my decision and Anne assured me that she would be there to help if any issues arose.

 I was introduced to Simon at a later meeting. Simon had been working on these types of trials for a few years, the employer (me ) got  4 weeks wages fully paid, then 4 weeks at 60% then 4 weeks at 30%. The deficit was paid by the trust direct to Simon so he always got paid the full amount.

I found out that when you explained the work, Simon could not always take it in, I had to take him to the area we were discussing and show him what to do. Actually, go through the work, and when checking his work if I found errors go through the same process again.

It is a fact that 80% of things visually shown are retained compared to 20% of knowledge retained when verbally explained. This had to be repeated every so often, so it would stick. This was a process that I usually did with new employees and now I started to use it every time and instructed my supervisors to teach this way also. The results were impressive especialy with my non-disabled staff.

Simon was always on time and he used to come by bicycle in all weathers, he never rang in sick once. My other younger employees would be calling in sick or missing shifts whenever they went out drinking and letting the rest of the team down.

man loading laundry

Gradually Simon learn’t more skilled jobs, I used him more and more because he was so reliable and enthusiastic. In the past he had been used a few times under this scheme for a few months of reduced wages by unscrupulous employers who never offered him a job at the end of the scheme. I found him to be one of the most reliable members of staff who was well-liked by everyone.

Based on my experience with Simon I would not hesitate in considering hiring more disabled workers. Because the trial period was three months long I had plenty of time to evaluate the work done and timekeeping etc.

cloth and bucket

I was approached by Anne to accept another guy a professional gentleman suffering from a Nervous breakdown and wanted to get back into the work environment. This guy needed to work closely with another employee to boost his confidence. He was another great timekeeper but was not confident enough to walk the shop floor by himself. I could not keep two people on the same job and pay both but I agreed that he could continue to come in every day as it was building his confidence. Anne was happy as he was making lots of progress.

man cleaning car

One of the first things that was noticed was from my area manager my wage bill was reduced! and running with more profit, where most other sites were running at a loss, and historically my site was a difficult one to recruit for. When I explained how I achieved this the area managers were very impressed and asked me to speak to other managers about how I had used different ideas to reduce my staffing problem. I had also reduced my materials cost and renewed a lot of my equipment by out of the box thinking.

In conclusion, based on my personal experience, I would not hesitate to employ another disabled person. They are well aware of their limitations and other peoples prejudices and in my experience work harder and are more reliable to compensate for this. Everyone should be assessed on an individual basis not everyone will be suitable for every job but keeping an open mind can deliver astonishing results.

Simon secured himself a Job with one of my colleagues in the supermarket which enabled him to get on the pension scheme and secure his future.

Please do not hesitate to leave comments or to ask questions.