What hiring practice could give your small business the edge over other companies? Some employers say that it would be hiring an individual with a developmental disability.

Dr. John Kregel of Virginia Commonwealth University has evaluated multiple research studies that find individuals with developmental disabilities are dedicated, hardworking, respectful, friendly, reliable and enthusiastic employees who often raise the morale and productivity of other employees and the profitability of the business. In turn, those individuals with developmental disabilities gain greater life experience and independence and have the ability to advance in a career of their choice. The benefits to employer and employee expand beyond productivity and financial compensation.

In Kregel’s article, “Why it Pays to Hire Workers With Developmental Disabilities,” employers agreed that the overall work performance of individuals with developmental disabilities is equal to or better than the work performance of other workers. Individual with developmental disabilities are dependable, reliable, loyal to their company and respectful to their supervisors. Their attendance and punctuality is often better than that of other employees as well as their overall respect for supervisors and co-workers.

Having an individual with a developmental disability on your staff could spur teamwork among your employees and raise your productivity. They can enlighten a staff to the possibilities for accomplishment by a diverse team and reawaken enthusiasm in the workplace.

Individuals with developmental disabilities exemplify positive work attitudes and habits that show long-term dedication to their work. Over time their work improves because they want to succeed. They are interested in promotion and career advancement and will work hard to get there.

SAP, a software enterprise company, has started an initiative to hire adults with autism to be software testers and developers. This initiative was proposed after supervisors saw measurable productivity gains from work teams that had members with autism.

Customers visit businesses in search of a certain product, but good customer service is what keeps those customers coming back rather than going to a competitor. While individuals with developmental disabilities will benefit their company with their individual skills and interests they also are often the friendly face of the workplace who often love their jobs and co-workers. Their friendliness reaches out to customers who feel an allegiance to that business that respects them as a customer. Those well-treated customers then grow into a dedicated consumer base.

Individuals with developmental disabilities are “able” to do so much good for a business. They are finding employment opportunities in offices, restaurants, retail shops, grocery stores, and other places where they are a part of their community. As they look for St. Joseph employment opportunities, employers would benefit their business by giving these individuals more than just a second look.