The 2012 Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) publication Business Strategies that Work: A Framework for Disability Inclusion identified seven action areas for inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. They are:
- Lead the Way: Inclusive Business Culture
- Hire (and Keep) the Best: Personnel Processes
- Ensure Productivity: Reasonable Accommodation Procedures
- Build the Pipeline: Outreach and Recruitment
- Communicate: External and Internal Communication of Company Policies and Practices
- Be Tech Savvy: Accessible Information and Communication Technology
- Grow Success: Accountability and Continuous Improvement Systems
“We established and staffed a centralized workplace accommodations function to ensure employees and candidates have full access to resources and tools necessary to perform to their fullest potential.”
Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Northrop Grumman Corporation
Companies that include disability in their diversity inclusion plans recognize that the “gold standard” of full inclusion includes implementation of written policies, practices and procedures. To grow success, disability inclusive companies do the following:
- Establish accountability measures
- Hold senior managers responsible for overseeing progress
- Provide disability inclusion training
- Proactively recruit job candidates with disabilities
- Provide professional development opportunities for employees with disabilities
- Ensure that employees with disabilities have the tools they need to do their jobs
Strategies and Initiatives from Private Industry
The following strategies and initiatives were extracted from a variety of oral and written reports from private sector companies.
Business Strategies to Measure Progress
- Establish and champion a corporate-wide disability strategy that includes goals and reporting for hiring, advancing and retaining individuals with disabilities.
- Pilot a hiring initiative with goals that will be measured in one of the company’s business streams before taking it company-wide.
- Measure progress by the increase and engagement of managers accessing disability resources.
- Conduct a formal assessment of programs across the employment lifecycle, including the accommodation process, to identify and address potential barriers.
Measures to Engage and Hold Responsible Senior Managers for Including Disability in Diversity-Inclusion Actions.
- Base executive performance evaluations on good-faith efforts to increase equal opportunity for employees and jobseekers, including people with disabilities.
- Add a Diversity & Inclusion component to performance evaluations for senior managers and track using a scorecard.
- Include valuing diversity as a performance competency.
- Use behavioral indicators to measure success, such encouraging team members to mentor new employees with disabilities and working with Employee Resource Groups to recruit job applicants with disabilities.The company’s CEO speaks at the company’s annual Employee Resource Group-sponsored disability summit.
- Require manager-level employees and above to complete annual affirmative action training that includes information on the requirements for workers and veterans with disabilities.
- Offer disability awareness and inclusion training through multiple vehicles including web-based training, face-to-face presentations, and experiential learning activities as part of the hiring process.
- Include a targeted disability training session as part of required new recruiter orientation.
- Require disability and inclusion training for all employees who are promoted to a management position.
Proactive Recruitment Efforts
- Post available positions locally with disability organizations for jobs in those geographic areas.
- Partner with multiple organizations, including for-profit, non-profit and governmental, that specialize in sourcing job candidates with disabilities for paid internships, temp-to-perm positions and direct hires.
- Ensure college/university recruiters proactively partner with the Disability Student Services’ offices on campuses that they regularly visit.
- Assign a company recruiting leader to the company’s disability affinity groups (sometimes called Employee Resource Groups).
- Engage in networks that work with wounded warriors and other veterans’ groups.
- Participate in Disability Mentoring Day and other structured mentoring programs.
- Establish a career advancement program for newly hired employees.
- Institute a reverse mentoring program where members of the affinity group mentor senior leaders regarding disability.
- Offer professional development opportunities through the disability affinity group that focus on wounded warriors and veterans.
- Pair employees with disabilities with mentors who are senior leaders.
Tracking Timely and Effective Fulfillment of Accommodations
- Record the type of accommodation requested, if the request was approved or denied, and the date the accommodation was made.
- Engage a contractor to process, fulfill and track all accommodation requests.
- Establish an automated system with a secure and confidential section available to all employees and where an employee can self-identify as a person with a disability or request accommodations.