Shalonda Sanders, 35, works in the mailroom delivering letters, documents and FedEx packages to law office employees at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago. Sanders, who was hit by a car at age 9 and left with brain trauma that slurs her speech and causes some tremors, was placed in the job through Best Buddies. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Disability Scoop recently posted a great article about employers who have recognized the benefits of bringing individuals with disabilities onto their teams. It features a woman named Shalonda Sanders, who is thriving as an employee of the mail center in one of the largest law firms in Chicago; her story is a great testament to the fact that with the proper planning and support, there’s a meaningful and valuable place for everyone. And the value isn’t just social or cultural; as this article makes clear, there are also serious business benefits to employers reevaluating how they look at capability on the job. Consider this excerpt about Walgreens, and their success with turning differences into strengths:
“At Walgreens, more than 12 percent of its distribution center employees have a self-disclosed disability, said Steve Pemberton, Walgreens’ chief diversity officer. That exceeds the federal government’s rule for federal contractors, which stipulates that employees with disabilities represent 7 percent of the workforce.
It is not charity, Pemberton said, but a business-driven decision. Many are on the autism spectrum and learn in a mechanized, rote way, which is useful in a distribution environment that is highly mechanized and time-sensitive, he said. Given the efficiency demands of supply chain, there is no room for lower standards.
In addition, “When you have a disability, there’s a certain resilience you have to have to navigate the world, you look at challenges from a different perspective,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want to have a problem-solving skill set on their team?””
Walgreens is proving that such forward-thinking, ability-responsive hiring is a great foundation for success; in the right circumstances, they’ve found that employees with disabilities can meet–or even exceed–the same performance standards set for any other employee.
Read the full story here: Employers Learn To Embrace Disability Hiring – Disability Scoop.