July 27, 2023

Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Making a Difference at Work

Many businesses now acknowledge the significance of diversity and inclusion, yet individuals with disabilities often receive less attention compared to other minority groups. Regrettably, this has led to disparities in the workplace. Despite the negative stereotypes sometimes associated with hiring workers with developmental disabilities, it can prove immensely advantageous for companies.

Increasing profit

Employing individuals with developmental disabilities gives businesses loyal, dedicated workers with lower turnover rates than other employees. Incorporating individuals with developmental disabilities into a company's workforce can have a positive impact on the organization, customer relationships and the local community. Their unique contributions and perspectives drive profit, productivity and performance.

The perception that employing people with disabilities is primarily a responsibility of nonprofit or public sector organizations is a misconception, and more importantly, a missed opportunity. Innovative businesses across various industries have shown that integrating individuals with disabilities can lead to a substantial competitive edge and sustained profitability.

New perspectives

Their unique perspectives also allow them to approach tasks innovatively that other employees may not consider. Studies have shown that workers with disabilities have better safety records and fewer absences than their coworkers without disabilities. By encouraging these employees to share their ideas and solutions, businesses can unlock new opportunities and stay ahead in a competitive market.

Customer satisfaction

Employing people with diverse abilities also enables companies to better meet the needs of a diverse customer base. Customers frequently view brands more positively when they see efforts to encourage diversity and intentionally hire people with developmental disabilities. Visibly diverse teams lead to increased customer satisfaction and repeat business. Embracing diversity in hiring enriches company culture and creates an environment of belonging that allows all employees to thrive.

Inclusive culture

To fully realize the great benefits of hiring people with developmental disabilities, companies must create a friendly, accepting and inclusive culture. This means going beyond recruitment and hiring to provide ongoing growth, development, mentorship and training opportunities. It also means ensuring appropriate workplace accommodations, modifications and assistance are available to employees based on individual needs. An inclusive culture allows both the company and its employees to thrive and feel at home in their company.

Meet Michelle

Hiring individuals with developmental disabilities enables them to enjoy a life and career trajectory similar to that of their peers. For instance, consider Michelle, who faces both intellectual and developmental challenges and relies on an electric wheelchair for mobility. Carol Salter, the assistant vice president of workforce development at Easter Seals, came up with an innovative solution when she observed that the coffee shop lacked a delivery system.

Her visit to the mall aimed at exploring potential job opportunities for Michelle. Michelle began her employment journey at the coffee shop, expanding her social circle and enjoying the benefits of part-time employment. Within the mall community, Michelle became known by her first name. Moreover, the coffee shop experienced a boost in revenue as it harnessed Michelle's skills and determination, while also broadening its network and profits.


Workers with developmental disabilities have a lot of untapped potential to contribute to the workplace. However, to fully benefit from them, companies must promote an inclusive culture. Businesses that adopt the best practices for diversity and inclusion while providing the required accommodations to assist employees based on individual requirements stand to reap competitive advantages, increased profitability and higher customer satisfaction.