A 2020 study in the Journal of Business and Psychology examined employer perceptions about hiring employees with disabilities throughout the hiring and on-boarding cycle and compared it with the actual evidence. A common concern was the possible negative impact that hiring someone with a disability could have on employee morale. For instance, some hiring managers expressed worry that other employees would resent accommodations made to their new colleagues, or that the new employees would not fit in with the organization’s social culture.
As it turns out, the opposite is usually the truth. Employee engagement and sense of well-being has shown to improve in companies that embrace diversity and uniqueness as part of their culture. When an organization is perceived as going beyond the strict letter of the law and seem to be genuinely interested in supporting their people, the reward is typically a more committed workforce with stronger social bonds between all members.
Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that employees with disabilities have a positive affect on organizational morale and social cohesion. As the authors of the article point out, this positive impact “goes beyond any superficial stereotypes of individuals with disabilities being inspirational or interpersonally warm”. Rather, employees with disabilities generally exhibit stronger “affective commitment” to their workplaces than other employees (which can spread dynamically through the entire organization), and can enhance trust between members.
Cited from Bonaccio, S., Connelly, C.E., Gellatly, I.R. et al. The Participation of People with
Disabilities in the Workplace Across the Employment Cycle: Employer Concerns
and Research Evidence. J Bus Psychol 35, 135–158 (2020).
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