Most people associate DEI with race, religion, or sexual orientation. Businesses that are truly committed to eliminating bias within their organisations, however, do not stop there. They go above and beyond by hiring older workers, employees with unique perspectives, and, most importantly, actively recruiting from a candidate pool that includes people with disabilities. These organisations also recognise that different types of disabilities, whether physical or developmental, necessitate careful thought about how to best accommodate an individual's specific needs while also making them feel valued.
And while hiring people with disabilities is the right thing to do, it ultimately makes businesses stronger. A study conducted by Accenture found that organizations prioritizing accessibility had 28 percent higher revenue, and people with disabilities represent the third-largest market segment in the United States. With hiring being a particular challenge right now for many businesses, it’s the perfect time to expand your universe of candidates and consider ways to attract and retain persons with disabilities. BCT Partners, an organization is devoted to creating a more equitable society, highlights five companies that are leading the way and have all been named best places to work for disability inclusion as a result of their efforts.
Bloomberg is dedicated to creating an open and accessible workplace. Bloomberg has partnered with organisations such as EmployAbility and Lime Connect to increase accessibility in their hiring process in order to better achieve their goals. They have also formed a number of employee resource groups to help employees with disabilities feel welcome. Bloomberg partnered with Beyond Our Sight to provide employees with the opportunity to experience what a visually impaired individual may face in order to increase empathy and support for disabled coworkers.
Five years in a row, Boeing has received a perfect score on the Disability Equality Index. They collaborate with Disability:In, a non-profit organisation dedicated to global business disability inclusion, and are part of their network of over 400 corporations working to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. Boeing regularly attends the Disability:In Conference in Chicago, where they meet and interview a large pool of candidates for a variety of different career opportunities within their company. Furthermore, Boeing is a member of TheValuable 500, a global network of 500 CEOs and their companies committed to achieving disability inclusion.
Caterpillar has formed an employee resource group called Abled & Disabled Employees Partnering Together (ADEPT), which is dedicated to making the workplace more inclusive. Their goal is to promote diversity and inclusion by recruiting people with disabilities, forming partnerships for professional development, and engaging in company and community outreach to raise awareness. When ADEPT collaborated with the National Foundation for Autism Research, they achieved one of their goals (NFAR). NFAR has a technology programme that teaches autistic young adults software testing skills in order to prepare them for employment in the high-tech industry. NFAR and Caterpillar collaborated to develop a programme that would leverage students' strengths to improve the quality of Caterpillar products. The collaboration was so successful that students won a Diversity and Inclusion Excellence award for their achievements on improving coding habits and work processes at the company.
Fidelity's Enable (Access, Ability, Achievement) employee resource group began in 2016 with six members and has since grown to include more than 80 employees. The group is committed to fostering a positive and inclusive work environment for employees of all abilities in order to enable them to reach their full potential through increased awareness and understanding. They strive to improve their disabled customers' experiences while also establishing Fidelity as a destination employer. Some of the group's projects have included making restrooms, desks, and computer equipment more accessible, allowing for flexible work hours/settings, and bringing in occupational therapists to assist employees with disabilities. Fidelity has also hired from the Holland Bloorview Ready to Work programme, which is a rehabilitation hospital that also assists young disabled people in finding employment.
5. Delta Air Lines Inc.
Delta established a Disability Advisory Board to ensure that they are the carrier of choice for customers by providing thoughtful, dependable, and innovative service to the disabled community. The Board is made up of Delta Frequent Flyer members with disabilities who make recommendations on compliance, training, policies, and anything else that affects the travel experience of disabled people. One significant outcome of this group is a new sign-language tag for airline employees, so customers can tell right away that signing is a communication option. Their employee resource group, ABLE, also collaborates with the advisory board to implement company ideas that are in line with passenger feedback. This has led to stronger hiring and retention for employees and clearer and understandable service policies for customers.
In Summary, each of the companies we profiled has taken a distinct approach to recruiting and retaining employees, as well as understanding the needs of their disabled customers. Most importantly, these organisations have recognised that in order for their efforts to succeed, they must take steps to increase their employees' empathy. One way to accomplish this is to assist them in understanding the challenges that their disabled colleagues face. Bloomberg's innovative approach in their collaboration with Beyond Our Sight did just that. In the long run, these are the kinds of innovative ideas that will reduce both conscious and unconscious bias and ensure that disabled employees truly feel like they are an integral part of the company.