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Keeping disabled employees

Actively supporting and keeping disabled employees has benefits for your organisation.

Benefits from keeping employees

Whether your employee had a disability at the time of hiring, or they have developed a disability after you employed them, actively supporting and keeping the employee has benefits for your organisation:

  • Adaptability: managing their disability or health issues involves disabled people learning problem solving skills which also apply to the workplace.
  • Increased staff morale and public reputation: treating employees with a disability fairly and well, shows that you are a good employer.
  • Lower costs: keeping a person working through making reasonable accommodation costs less than having to recruit and train a new employee. It also increases the number of employees returning to work after a short or long term absence and reduces the costs associated with absences in the workplace.

Ways to keep employees

Feeling valued is important to all employees. Some ways to show employees are valued and help you to keep disabled employees include:

  • Encourage and support flexible working and early return to work
  • Provide disability awareness training for line managers and immediate colleagues
  • Make sure managers know of their obligations to provide ‘reasonable accommodation’
  • Provide specific information as agreed with the employee if adjustments need the co-operation of others.
  • Show pride in the achievements of your disabled staff:
    • Include photos of disabled people in your website
    • Refer to training and career development opportunities
    • Publicise your success stories eg in your organisation publications. website, or blog or through other media
  • Networking with specialist employment agencies (such as Workbridge). Specific disability organisations can help employers understand their employees’ situations better, and develop their work to better fit changing abilities.
  • Training and development opportunities:
    • Ensure venues are accessible, and training material is appropriately presented
    • Offer open and flexible learning as an alternative to venue based learning
    • Be flexible about timetables, especially breaks
    • Offer 'prerequisite' training
    • Vary the learning methods, as different people learn in different ways
    • Be proactive about personal development
  • Use a mentor or buddy system
  • Develop support networks which assist with the development of disability policies
  • Make sure disability policies are supported by senior managers
  • Conduct a disability audit and develop a disability confident organisation action plan. This will help your organisation to improve its understanding of diversity.

Further resources

Download Retaining employees who acquire a disability: A guide for employers [pdf file, external link] (external link)

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