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How can leaders elevate their businesses with disability-inclusive hiring?

10 Oct 2022

Visual graphic design of two persons with disabilities seated next to a book. They are gesturing to the person standing in front of the book and pointing to some text within.

The benefits of disability-inclusive hiring have been well articulated in many studies. However, these studies tend to take on a more western-centric perspective. In light of this, we commissioned executive search and consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles to conduct a study on the perceptions of organisational performance and culture among employees at 30 disability-inclusive employers in Singapore.

This study is the first in Singapore to involve organisations from a range of sectors, varying sizes and with differing degrees of disability inclusiveness to examine the business case for disability-inclusive employment. The findings were presented at SG Enable’s Inclusive Business Forum in August 2022.


The study highlights four key benefits of a disability-inclusive workforce:

1. Purpose-driven employees

Disability-inclusive employers tend to be clearer on their business objectives. They understand how the policy fits with their wider goals, and convey it to their staff. As such, employees are more likely to feel a shared sense of purpose with their employer. This improves talent retention, and employees are more likely to recommend the organisation as a place to work.

On average, organisations with more disability-inclusive employment practices score  9% higher on purposeful leadership.

2. Innovative and learning culture

Employees in disability-inclusive organisations rate them as open to change and feel that a diverse team structure fosters creativity due to the ability to integrate different ways of thinking. Having employees with disabilities in an organisation encourages a culture where all perspectives are heard and helps avoid groupthink.

My organisation, Michael Page, partners with SG Enable to conduct disability awareness training for employees and is continuously looking for ways to improve each person’s understanding of disability inclusion. Not only does this create a more conducive environment for the diverse team, but also fosters a learning culture in the organisation - Alister Ong, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Client Solutions Manager, Michael Page & Goh Chok Tong Enable Awards 2020 Recipient

3. Simpler, digitally-enabled processes

Disability-inclusive employment provides an impetus for efficiency, simplifying systems and the adoption of digital tools to remove workplace barriers. One organisation had shared that it made significant efforts to create clearer instructions by illustrating process steps with persons with disabilities in mind, which ultimately benefitted all employees.

On average, organisations with more disability-inclusive employment practices score 8% higher on digital readiness.

4. Customer-centric thinking

Additionally, simplified work processes provide an extended benefit of promoting more customer-centric thinking, with a clearer breakdown of products and services, and in some cases, product development. This also leads to more market opportunities: an organisation which develops products and services that cater to a more diverse group of people.

Disability-inclusive hiring: A business imperative

For disability-inclusive hiring to be a truly sustainable business solution, we encourage business leaders to recognise and believe in the value that persons with disabilities can offer to organisations. As this study demonstrates, hiring persons with disabilities can be a business imperative that builds organisational resilience. Persons with disabilities are also integral members of society who have unique strengths and can contribute meaningfully when the focus is on their abilities.

Organisations that may have overlooked disability inclusion can devote more attention and resources to this area, so that they do not miss an important opportunity to accelerate their business performance, especially in a tight labour market. We hope that these findings will embolden organisations to take the first step in working with us to embark on this meaningful journey of hiring persons with disabilities.

Download a complimentary copy of the study. It includes information on our support available to organisations to employ and integrate persons with disabilities at the workplace.