In May 2019, Centene hired an ADA accommodations SME to build and lead a centralized accommodation operation to transition its reasonable accommodation process from 130+ field HR generalists to a team of ADA experts to provide a better end-user experience for both employees and managers. This HR ADA Team supports the entire business enterprise of more than 66,000 employees and facilitates over 600 accommodation requests and inquiries per month.
Centene recognizes the centralized accommodation operation is vital to provide an internal infrastructure to move the company’s disability inclusion strategy forward. To reinforce this commitment, the ADA Team has integrated Centene’s disability inclusion philosophy into a set of guidelines that inform their daily work, positioning ADA accommodations as a business advantage:
- Service Excellence. Our ADA accommodation service focus is designed with the end-user experience in mind, measured and improved by customer survey feedback results;
- Operational Efficiency. We use data and metrics to develop benchmarks to drive day-to-day service excellence and determine appropriate ADA Team staffing levels;
- Business Partner. Our focus helping managers understand how a specific accommodation will increase their employee’s productivity and help the department achieve business objectives, provides business value and builds ADA champions one person at a time;
- Employee-Centricity. We guide each employee through the accommodation and medical leave of absence process to ease apprehension in what often-times feels like a vulnerable time to the employee. Post-accommodation employee survey results show that employees appreciate their accommodation experience and feel valued by Centene;
- Productivity Enhancement Tool. Our focus on accommodations as a business problem-solving process to increase employee productivity, moves ADA accommodations away from solely being viewed as a legal compliance activity;
- Win-Win Solution. Our role is to find a “win-win solution” that removes a barrier for the employee that works for the business unit within the inherent operational constraints;
- Holistic Person-Centered Approach. In the interactive accommodation process we identify all workplace barriers and explore solutions for every barrier so that the employee has all the tools to be immediately productive and successful, not just make a “yes” or “no” determination to the accommodation being requested;
- Barrier Busters. We build in flexibility for ADA team members to identify and remove any barrier in the accommodation process to prevent delay and expedite productivity enhancement for the employee and business unit. Examples include approving an accommodation for a trial period to see if the solution will effectively remove barriers instead of assuming it won’t, and approving an accommodation for a limited interim period prior to receiving supporting medical documentation;
- Simplify Language. We simplify ADA legal compliance terminology by using everyday language for ease of understanding by employees and managers. This also helps move accommodations from solely being viewed as an HR compliance activity to understanding accommodations as a business productivity matter.