3 Ways to Improve Your Disability Program to Help You Keep Talent

Posted by: 
Jeff Smith
Photo of a woman at a desk with a laptop

With the unemployment rate consistently hovering near 4%, keeping talent is one of the biggest challenges employers face. How can you differentiate your organization? Pay is certainly one tool — but the way you manage disability also matters.

Job seekers can easily take their talent elsewhere when they aren’t satisfied with pay or benefits. Today’s workforce also has a broad range of benefits needs, leaving many companies struggling to keep up.

A key concern is disability management. A recent study from Standard Insurance Company (The Standard) found that disabilities and absences are particularly difficult for companies to manage. Of over 500 HR managers surveyed, 64% scored a C, D or F for how they manage disabilities in the workplace.1

What’s behind these below-average grades? They suggest employers are out of touch with their employees’ benefits needs. Poor disability management is one factor contributing to this lack of awareness, and to lower employee retention.

The Standard’s research also showed that only 42% of employers felt their senior leadership was committed to helping employees with disabilities. Instead, it’s more likely their CEOs are thinking about a recession. A recent survey by The Conference Board found that CEOs said a recession was their No. 1 external concern in 2019.2

This concern is also an opportunity. HR managers should share the advantages of a comprehensive disability management program with their leaders:

  • An organization that’s managing disability effectively may be less impacted by a recession. Having a firm handle on what accommodations a workforce needs could reduce costs related to hiring temporary help, adding overtime or not finishing projects.
  • Formal return-to-work programs that help manage employee health conditions can lead to lower absenteeism — and better employee retention, workplace morale and productivity.

Explore the following graphic for three ways to bolster your disability management strategies and keep you from losing out on talent.



In an employee-focused job market, your approach to disability can help you stay competitive in retaining talent. Providing return-to-work support is critical to this effort — and can cost less than searching for new employees.


1 Absence and Disability Readiness Index, Standard Insurance Company, 2019.

2 C-Suite ChallengeTM 2019, The Conference Board, 2019.