SME’s are becoming more aware of the needs of customer and employees with disability. While this shift in attitude is positive more action is needed from Australian businesses to make their goods, services and employment practices more reflective of the diversity of the community.

These were the insights to emerge from the Annual Disability Confidence Survey released by the Australian Network on Disability (AND).   However, having a positive attitude does not necessarily lead to positive action AND chief executive, Suzanne Colbert said. “Australian businesses can do much more to improve the experience of people with disability who are attempting to access jobs, products and services. It is vital business take a more proactive approach to welcoming this important part of the community,” Colbert said.

The survey also revealed a ‘passive’ attitude when it comes to greeting people with disability. While 82 per cent believe they have some customers with disability, 42 per cent have not taken action because there has been no request to do so and 24 per cent admitted not knowing what action to take. In contrast, the experience of 55 per cent of businesses, aware they have employees with disability, is overwhelmingly positive and almost 90 per cent identify positive benefits from improved staff morale to increased customer loyalty.

“We know that welcoming customers and employees with disability is good for business,” Colbert added.

The survey is the only study of its kind in Australia. It investigates the attitude and awareness of 500 small to medium sized enterprises on welcoming customers and employees with disability.

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