What’s the difference between Enabled and Disabled employees in the workplace? 

This is Jody Ann Johnson, with the 88th episode of “Coffee with Jody.” Today we’re going to be covering diversity, inclusion and belonging at a whole other level with regards to people that are traditionally called “disabled.”  But, what we’re actually going to refer to them going forward (in a much more politically correct fashion) is “enabled.” Enabled with a wheelchair, enabled with artificial limbs, enabled… you get the picture.  

Now imagine this, you’re sitting at your desk, like just pulling your hair out because you can’t find enough people to join your team. Recruitment efforts have been dismal and you’re saying to yourself “how am I going to make it all work? I’m turning away clients and new work because I just don’t have enough people on the team to fulfill that work.” 

Well, perhaps we can go to the next level of looking at a labor pool that has been largely untapped, the labor pool of people that are enabled. I’m going to ask you to widen the net of your awareness about diversity, inclusion and belonging to include this unique group of people. 

 When we ask business owners about the lessons they learned about the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them will say that their people come up with the most creative and innovative ideas. They were tapping into the untapped potential that these employees had to make things better for the company. They were solving problems like never before. 

 At times such as these, it’s important to recognize that rather than just checking off skill sets; it’s even more important to be looking at what are the attitudes, what is the spirit, what is the depth this person can bring to the table?  

This is where diversity, inclusion and belonging can really make a difference. The minority population of people that are enabled is a group of people that can add another layer of resource and talent to your teams for the companies that are willing to embrace them.  

When a crisis hits, conventional thinking only goes so far. The group of people that have been traditionally related to as “disabled” have been navigating through challenging times, being innovative, being able to communicate in ways that people that don’t have these challenges aren’t forced to do. They have continually been trained and developed in being innovative, being strategic and being creative. They look at the world through an entirely different lens than the rest of us do. 

Once again, we see that inclusion of this group of people leads to companies that have higher profitability and higher levels of performance. This is not a new story, diversity and inclusion routinely shows us that companies that embrace this in the workplace have better business outcomes.  

Retention of people with disabilities, what we’re calling “enabled” is much greater than those that are neuro-typical as they call it. In the enabled population, it’s 8%, whereas turnover for the neuro-typical is traditionally about 45%.  

In addition to the better business outcomes that we’ve been discussing thus far, there’s approximately $21 billion in discretionary buying power from people with disabilities, or as we’re calling them now “enabled” and people to whom that matters.  

So in addition to having people that are able to bring creativity, innovation, and strategic thinking because they’ve been dealing with challenges throughout their disability; they also bring better business outcomes and the potential for additional sales for companies that embrace them. 

People have choices today, so whether this is a person who is enabled, their buying power, their ability to contribute to your company and/or the buying power of people to whom those people matter, whether it’s a sibling, a child, or a parent, including enabled people in your workforce is a no-brainer.  

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And if you’d like to find out how business coaching can help you to achieve your business goals, please schedule a discovery call with me by using the calendar below. 


See you in the next video. Bye for now. 

About the author,

With 14 years of experience in working with small and medium sized businesses to help them grow, Doug is committed to seeing business owners thrive. Business coaching is what drives Doug.

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