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“Developing Relationship with Employers” by Stensrud


This research study offers a detailed description of various focus groups that were carried out among employers. The study was conducted in the Midwestern state using 10 different communities that were made up of 10 focus groups. To obtain a fair representation in the research study, all the segments of the communities (large, medium, and small) were incorporated. Also, 67 respondents took part in the study. They included supervisors and human resource officers drawn from various organizations. They were expected to give their responses to questions regarding the promotion, accommodation, training, selection, and recruitment of workers who were disabled. In terms of the follow-up inquiries, the participants in the survey were asked to respond to challenges faced when hiring individuals with disabilities. From their responses, several themes emerged.

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These themes were found to be instrumental for rehabilitation providers. Also, the research survey noted that there was existing legislation that had already been put in place to safeguard the interests of workers with various disabilities. Despite the presence of such laws, employers are still reluctant to hire workers who may experience difficulties at the place of work. The 67 participants who took part in the survey argued that employees with disabilities ought to disclose confidential information on their disabilities. They should only disclose information that they think may interfere with their overall performance at work. During the study, quite a several selection themes emerged. The themes included legal implications of hiring, limitations of soft skills, communication with applicants, and disclosure of disability that is related to specific jobs. It was also found out that employers’ decisions are usually affected by the desire to reduce the risk of hiring employees with disabilities.

Objective and goals of the article

The article aims at establishing whether there are any challenges of hiring workers with disabilities. Also, the article aims at exploring the challenges experienced by human resource professionals when hiring and sustaining employees who are disabled (Stensrud, 2007). This is the reason why the survey sought the views of employers through a qualitative study. The article has also mentioned some of the existing pieces of legislation that support the employment of workers who are disabled. On the same note, the methodologies that can be used to fix wages and salaries without oppressing employees have been highlighted in the article. The role played by rehabilitation professions about the employment of persons with disabilities has been given key attention in the article. Finally, the article highlights the challenges faced by disabled people when being hired or even at the place of work. It is vital to note that employers often find themselves in dilemma between hiring the most qualified applicants and meeting the legislative provisions of incorporating people with disabilities in their workforce (Stensrud, 2007).

Rehabilitation opportunities

Some of the rehabilitation opportunities identified in the article include co-worker and supervisor training, consumer interview skills training, accommodation, and disability information as well as problem-solving and consultation after the hiring process.

Major themes that emerged on the issues of selection

Communication with applicants

The ability to communicate with job applicants is crucial in the process of selecting the most suitable and qualified candidates who can meet the minimum requirements of specific jobs. However, the applicants are also expected to offer their confidential information to their respective employers so that any cases of disability are noted in advance. In most cases, applicants are supposed to communicate with their employers before being awarded job opportunities.

Communication with applicants also entails the ability of employers to assess both the risk levels and potential to perform various roles and duties assigned to them. Nonetheless, it is sometimes cumbersome to initiate such forms of communications because employers may be handling dozens of applications from various job seekers (Stensrud, 2007). Therefore, the effective selection of applicants heavily relies on the available information from job seekers. It is upon the employers to initiate successful deliberations with job seekers.

Job-appropriate disclosure of disability

Some job applicants do not reveal their areas of disability that may negatively impact performance. The participants in the research study revealed that applicants should disclose disabilities that they think may interfere with their performance.

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Soft skills limitations

Although some applicants may pass the interview process and basic qualifications, they may still lack soft skills such as good interpersonal relationships, transparency, accountability, and effective communication skills.

Legal implications of hiring

Employers through human resource officers usually encounter myriads of legal implications in the process of hiring employees. In the case of applicants with various disabilities, the law requires that they should be accommodated, employed, and even promoted just like the other employees. Other themes under selection include the cost of failed hiring and reactions of co-workers in regards to other workers who are not productive (Stensrud, 2007).

How does “risk reduction” affect an employer’s decisions?

The decisions taken by employers when selecting the right applicants are usually subjected to a lot of risks. In most cases, employers are compelled to create a delicate balance between the right applicants and those whose disabilities may affect overall job performance. Therefore, risk reduction is part and parcel of the selection process when employers make final decisions on the most qualified applicants.

The modern business environment is highly competitive. This explains why the aspect of risk reduction is an integral issue of consideration when making the final employment decisions. It is prudent to observe that outsourcing may pose serious risks to operational units during the process of hiring workers. From the survey conducted among the 67 participants, it was evident that high-pressure jobs are quite difficult and stressful to handle. On the same note, making decisions on most qualified individuals usually demands risk reduction since respective employers may not be sure of the ability of the hired workers especially if they are disabled (Werner & DeSimone, 2009). It has been observed that some applicants who are disabled are usually not willing to expose their disabilities to employers for fear of being discriminated against. However, employers who took part in the survey argued that it is prudent for job applicants to explain their nature of the disability to employers so that the latter can make outright decisions on their qualifications.

Another area that demands risk reduction is the collaboration between employers and rehabilitation counselors. The worst affected groups are supervisors. It has been established that the current work environment cannot auger well with accommodations. There is a need for rapid service delivery by rehabilitation counselors. Consumers can miss several job opportunities when the latter element is not fully respected. Risk reduction can also be implemented by hiring applicants who have minimal risks that can be easily managed. From the research study, it was also evident that performance enhancement has been reduced because of laying too much emphasis on risk reduction. In most cases, the risks brought about by job applicants who may not be able to deliver have compelled employers to focus more on the risks than the qualifications of the applicants.

High medical costs and inappropriate hires can directly affect the employer. For instance, employees who are disabled and perhaps require regular medical check-ups courtesy of the employer may end up committing the employer to unbudgeted expenses and eventual financial loss (Werner & DeSimone, 2009). The risks encountered by employers when making employment decisions can also be indirect. For example, other workers can be grossly dissatisfied by the dismal performance of a disabled employee especially in cases where teamwork is involved (Singh & Kumar, 2011).

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The unclear parts in the article and emerging questions

Although the article explores the issue of the legality of hiring disabled applicants, it does not expound on the existing laws and how they implicate employers. Moreover, the article does not address all the objectives outlined in the introductory section. For instance, which methodologies can be used to fix wages and salaries without impacting employers negatively? Besides, can employers advance additional training to employees with disabilities so that they can perform well at work? Another area of concern is the rehabilitation opportunities that are available for employees with disabilities. The article does not explicitly expound whether employees with disabilities should be taken through a rigorous rehabilitation program even after employment. The research study indicated that employers are still skeptical about hiring employees with disabilities. However, the article does not give additional details on whether employers are willing to hire disabled workers without too rigid conditions.


Singh, P.N. & Kumar, N. (2011). Employee Relations Management. New Delhi: Dorlng Kindersley.

Stensrud, R. (2007). Developing Relationships With Employers Means Considering the Competitive Business Environment and the Risks it Produces. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 50(4), 226-237.

Werner, M.J. & DeSimone, R.L. (2009). Human resource development. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

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