Expand Your Capabilities and Transform Lives: Hire Special Needs Workers
At my company, we have a secret weapon.
It allows us to take on daunting, labor-intensive assembly projects that a lot of businesses won’t go near. Here’s an example:
One of our customers, a Fortune 500 company with a recognizable tape and glue brand, approached us with a dilemma.
They were in the midst of an intense hand-assembly project involving tens of thousands of pieces. The temps they had hired to do the work were struggling to meet the necessary performance goals.
Enter that secret weapon: Our special needs workforce.
Special Needs, Incredible Abilities
We’ve been employing special needs individuals for about 20 years now and have worked hard to establish a dedicated workshop where they can carry out their duties successfully.
Sure, people may applaud the idea of employing special needs adults. But when it comes down to our customers actually using their services, they understandably have questions.
What will the quality of work be like? How efficiently can they perform tasks? What will the costs be for us?
Well, regarding that challenging project I mentioned above, our special needs workers clearly outperformed the customer’s internal temps — and at a lower cost.
In fact, the customer was blown away by the output and the quality of the work.
I’m telling you this not because it’s an exceptional occurrence. It’s actually emblematic of what our special needs workers do all the time.
And our customer was more than impressed. Why, they wondered, couldn’t they do something like this themselves?
It’s a good question. And it got me thinking about fellow printing companies.
The Benefits of Hiring Special Needs Workers
First, let me be clear about the actual work. In some ways, yes, the tasks that our special needs workers perform are simple and repetitive.
On the other hand, these hand-assembly projects can also be incredibly detail-oriented. And logistically speaking, they can present significant manufacturing challenges. Also, the tasks can be a real struggle for the typical temp or employee.
But our special needs workers excel at them — and our customers love it.
Let me give you an idea of all the great benefits that come from employing a group of special needs workers:
You can be more competitive. Without question, our special needs workers help broaden our scope of capabilities, especially for intricate and ongoing hand-assembly projects. In other words, they help us solve real problems that our customers have and enable us to take on projects we couldn’t normally do.
You can give deserving people a chance. These special needs adults have real workforce skills, but it can be extremely difficult for them to find opportunities. They’re now getting a chance to do valued work, experience the satisfaction of a job well done, and learn the responsibilities that go along with being an employee.
You can boost morale. We’re making a difference in these people’s lives, and, yes, that feels great. But they’re also making a difference in ours. Our special needs workers put everyone around them in a better mood. They’re happy to be part of our team, and that happiness is infectious.
How to Go About Doing This at Your Printing Company
If this sounds like something your company would be interested in — and I hope it does — here are a few considerations.
First, it’s important to understand that you won’t have to do it alone.
No matter where you’re located, the chances are good that you have nonprofit organizations and government agencies at various levels that are more than willing to provide guidance.
In fact, they’ll probably be so happy in your interest that they’re going to go out of their way to help your efforts be successful. I’m talking about assisting you with crucial steps like these:
- Identifying the right job candidates to put together an effective work team
- Providing both offsite and onsite job training and coaching, often at no cost to you
- Helping you through the paperwork
- Making sure that workers have transportation to and from work
- Ensuring you have important information regarding social worker support, emergency contacts, and any other special considerations
- Creating an effective special needs workshop with minimal distraction
- Getting each worker set up for success in a physical space conducive to their particular skill set
Start thinking about it: What kind of work opportunities could you take on by adding a team of special needs workers?
Take the first step by getting together with an office or organization that specializes in helping special needs adults find employment. Talk through the possibilities with them.
Sure, it’s going to take some effort on your part.
Over the two decades or so of bringing in special needs workers, we’ve learned a ton at my company. And I believe we’re getting better and better at it.
Has it always been easy. No. But has it been worth our efforts? Absolutely.
I seriously can’t imagine what our company would be like today if we had never made special needs employment a component of our business. It’s really been transformative.
On a lighter note, we’ve even added pizza Fridays as a production incentive. I’m not sure who’s more excited about that — them or me.
About the Author
Chris Yuhasz founded POV Solution as a basement desktop publishing business 27 years ago in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Today, POV solutions provides printing services from Cleveland, Ohio, servicing clients coast-to-coast with commercial printing, graphic design, and spot UV printing for finishing services.
Chris Yuhasz founded POV Solution as a basement desktop publishing business 27 years ago in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. POV Solution provides printing services from Cleveland, Ohio, servicing clients coast-to-coast with commercial printing, graphic design and spot UV printing for finishing services.