The journey toward disability inclusion in the workplace starts with Foundational Practices. These are the elemental programs and policies a company needs to welcome and represent people with disabilities.
Foundational Practices include supporting disability-focused employee/business resource groups and ensuring reasonable accommodations for recruits, employees, and clients with disabilities. Other examples include signing CEO pledges to make disability inclusion an enterprise-wide priority, holding teams accountable for digital accessibility, and committing to including disability-owned business enterprises in supplier diversity spending efforts.
Examples of Foundational Practices
Culture and Leadership
- 88% have an officially recognized disability-focused Employee Resource Group (ERG) or Affinity Group
- 79% have a written statement of commitment to Diversity & Inclusion that specifically mentions disability
Community and Engagement
- 88% provided philanthropic support to an external disability related event or organization in 2021
- 83% have a formal program(s) in place to understand how to address the needs of the disability community
- 96% offer flexible work options
- 91% encourage employees to self-identify as a person with a disability
- 84% provide a wellness benefit(s) that extends beyond their employee assistance program (EAP) or mental health benefits
- 79% have employee retention and advancement programs that focus on or include employees with disabilities
- 74% had expenditures with disability-owned businesses in 2021
Once companies have established a strong foundation of disability inclusion, they can push forward with more comprehensive cultural inclusion. The 2022 DEI revealed how some companies are going beyond simply accommodating people with disabilities to actively seeking their talent and perspectives and celebrating their significant contributions to a diverse culture.
Companies instituting practices aligned with Emerging Trends rigorously evaluate their external digital products for accessibility and show a high commitment to community engagement with the disability community.
Examples of Emerging Trends
- 66% use the numerical data to track progress in hiring people with disabilities
- 61% make all job interview candidates aware of the option to request an accommodation(s) for the interview
- 55% have a centralized accommodations fund or budget margin for disability
- 53% have a leadership-driven supplier diversity commitment
- 77% have disability inclusive standards of non-discrimination in the workplace that apply to all employees outside of the United States
Culture and Leadership
- 60% have a company-wide external hiring goal(s) for people with disabilities
- 62% have a requirement to ensure digital products are accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities
- 54% audit their external facing digital products for accessibility
- 50% are investing in technology to advance digital accessibility
- 70% authentically market directly to the disability community
- 59% supported or shaped disability-inclusion initiatives in 2021
- 55% have a plan in place to ensure social media postings are accessible
New Imperatives for Success
The future of work must be accessible, diverse, and have a global reach. Companies that lean into progressively inclusive practices, rather than just primary-level ones, are well-positioned for sustainable growth.
New Imperatives for Success are the pioneering measures that will evolve the disability agenda from accommodation, to inclusion, to genuine belonging. They require leadership vision, strategy, and accountability to implement.
New this year, the DEI found that more companies are considering ways to make their leadership roles and corporate boards of directors more inclusive of people with disabilities, such as through amendments to their board nomination and governance charters.
Examples of New Imperatives for Success
Culture and Leadership
- 4% of current employees self-identify as having a disability*
- 40% review the aggregate engagement survey results for employees who have identified as having a disability
- 22% publish diversity report(s) that include data on employees who identify as having a disability
- 25% say disability inclusion is specified as a written component of diversity within the performance evaluations for senior executives
- 10% of documents that govern nominations of Directors on the corporate boards specifically mention the consideration of people with disabilities
- 6% have someone who openly identifies as having a disability serving on their company’s corporate Board of Directors and 2% of companies publicly disclose or report on this information
- 27% have a company-wide disability-focused goal(s) in place for supplier diversity and inclusion
- 21% require at least some of their prime suppliers to have expenditures with disability-owned businesses in their Tier 2 supplier diversity program
- 36% audit their internally facing digital products for accessibility
- 40% have conducted usability studies to verify that the communications options work effectively with screen reading and other assistive technology
- 30% have a Senior Executive (within first two layers reporting to CEO) who is internally known as being a person with a disability
- 3% of new hires self-identify as having a disability*
- 45% have employees with significant disabilities who utilize supported employment programs
- 11% use services provided by disability-owned businesses to accommodate hard-of-hearing, Deaf, or Deafblind employees
- 37% have a smartphone app and have audited their app for digital accessibility
- 42% have established chapters of their disability-focused Employee Resource Group (ERG) or Affinity Group outside of the U.S.
*Median percentage among companies that encourage and report self-identification numbers of new hires
Modernizing the Corporate Board
The DEI Takes on Boardroom Representation
In 2022, the DEI benchmark began asking questions aimed at understanding board representation by people with disabilities. Companies are encouraged to seek out, appoint, and report on disabled board directors to achieve their
board-level diversity requirements and ESG goals. These questions are not weighted, meaning they do not impact overall scores.
Q: Do the documents that govern nominating of Directors on your corporate board specifically mention the consideration of people with disabilities?
Yes: 42 (10%)
No: 349 (84%)
No, but plan to within the next year: 24 (6%)
Q: Does someone who openly identifies as having a disability serve on our company’s corporate Board of Directors?
Yes: 23 (5.5%)
No: 215 (52%)
Do Not Know: 177 (42.5%)
Q: If YES to previous question, does the company publicly disclose or report on this information?
Yes: 7 (1.7%)
No: 12 (2.9%)
No, but plan to within the next year: 4 (1%)