Woman sits on couch working on laptop with wheelchair across from her. She is smiling and is in a corporate setting/lounge.
This is a segment of our COVID-19 resource series. Learn more about the series or browse additional content at COVID-19 and the Workforce.

The coronavirus and COVID-19 crisis impact the disability community in ways that are both universal and unique. This is also true across industries. On this page, you’ll find industry-specific resources from peer-to-peer calls and knowledge sharing amongst our Corporate Partners.

May 19, 2020 2:00pm EST

Speakers:

  1. Nedra Dickson, Global Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Lead, Accenture & Disability:IN Board Member
  2. Carlos Cubia, Global Chief Diversity Officer, Walgreens
  3. Eric R. Joe, Sr. Specialist – Diversity & Inclusion, Charles Schwab & Co.
  4. Imelda Wicks, Program Director of Diversity and Inclusion, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  5. Carlos Butler-Vale, Global Director – Diversity & Inclusion, McDonald’s Corporation

Notes from the Company Sharing Sessions:

Long-term view of remote working:

  • Many companies are contemplating keeping a large portion of the workforce at home indefinitely
  • Offering this an option to those who prefer working at home
    • Make returning to the office voluntary
  • Ensure all at home accommodation requests are completed
  • Companies are re-evaluating office space/real estate needs as a result

Return should be a phased process:

  • Essentials only at first
  • 25% back for the second round
  • Follow CDC and federal guidelines
    • Keeping an eye on local guidelines as well

Safety in the workplace:

  • Offering masks for employees
  • Embrace touchless technology
    • Touchless keys, voice-activated elevators, automatic doors, etc.
  • Look into the guidelines of clients as well
  • Accommodations that were arranged at home, should now be brought to the office
  • Rethinking the office layout
    • more separations, partitions, limiting capacities, no communal seating
  • Increase of level and frequency of cleaning services
  • Temperature checks
  • Offer Covid-19 safety training to employees
  • Include floor decals in elevators and public areas
  • Offer long term options for drive-through, curbside, or delivery for customers
  • No open foods or buffets in cafeterias

Employee Benefits:

  • Reiterate current benefits to employees
    • Have one online location to view all information
  • Offer childcare services or assistance to those returning to the office
  • Consider offering testing sites for employees and their families
  • Utilize employee communication to your advantage
    • Bi-weekly poll surveys to monitor how employees are feeling
    • Give employees opportunities to address issues, concerns, and questions
    • Frequent, transparent, fact-based communications
    • Newsletters for managers
    • Utilizing ERG/BRGs
  • Offer telemedicine options
  • Mental Health benefits:
    • On-site wellness counselors
    • Mental health webinars
    • Increase hours per month employees can take to use for mental health
    • Increase vacation cap allowance
    • Look into Sanvello, a free online mental health service

Hiring:

  • Continue hiring efforts active through virtual processes
  • Speed up processes and timelines
  • Remove red tape and empower managers to make on the ground decisions
  • Keep internships going when possible
  • Employer-to-employer partnerships
    • Partner with hotels and restaurants for hiring needs
    • Utilize Accenture’s resource that connects those who have been laid off, with companies who need to hire:
    • Accenture: People + Work Connect

May 21, 2020 2:00pm EST

Speakers:

  1. Lauren Brouhard, Head of Workforce Planning, Talent Management and People Analytics, Fidelity Investments
  2. Mike Jewett, VP HR Pharma Services, Thermo Fisher Scientific
  3. Monique Lanaux, Sr. Director Diversity & Engagement, PepsiCo
  4. Irissol Arce, Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Northwestern Mutual
  5. Maria Febre, Director, Equality & Belonging, Gap Inc.

Notes from the Company Sharing Sessions:

Long-term view of remote working:

  • Remote working has been pretty effective, but not everyone is liking working from home
  • Though some are considering staying remote long-term, many companies view returning to the office as an important aspect of their culture and do not wish to remain home long-term
  • Some view returning to the office as a way to re-engage employees, as connections and innovations come from people working close in proximity
  • Regardless of the above, giving employees “voice and choice” in this matter is crucial
  • Consider whether employees are currently caring for family at home

Return should be a phased process:

  • Focusing on the “how” – not “when”
  • Should be a gradual process
  • Use a data-driven approach when developing a plan:
    • Look at regional data around COVID numbers (Hospital stays, cases, etc.)
    • Look at local and federal regulations
    • Consider school opening dates and data
    • Consider mass transportation scheduling
  • Rank company work sites around who should/can return first
  • Decide how many can come back in, based on a prioritization of the role and work
  • Focus on a few business priorities first

Safety in the workplace:

  • Innovations around safety:
    • Thermal temp tech
    • Contact tracing pilot software
  • PPE including clear masks for lip-reading needs
  • Signage around the workplace
    • Utilize large lettering, brail, and/or audio for those with limited or no sight
  • Screening capabilities for employees
  • Gloves
  • Physical distancing for people and seating areas
  • Increase cleaning levels and frequency
  • Clear partitions
  • Staggered shifts (A&B)
  • Increasing outside airflow
  • Metered elevator capacity
  • Grab-and-Go only cafeterias

Employee Benefits:

  • Maintain consistent and clear messaging to employees
  • Highlight accessibility features being put in place
  • Develop crisis childcare facilities for those that have to come into work
    • Or consider crisis pay to offset childcare costs
  • While exploring testing needs be mindful of intent around testing as we have limited supply
  • Make use of ERGs
  • Recommunication existing benefits
  • Accommodation request
  • Higher volume of accommodation requests around COVID, ensure those are handled adequately and quickly
  • Offer telemedicine
  • Mental health should be a priority
    • Focus on resiliency
    • Offer live conversations around mental health
    • Surveys are a great tool to gauge how employees are doing and gather concerns

Hiring:

  • It has been easy to continue hiring efforts virtually

May 4, 2020 2:00pm EST

Speakers:

  1. Marina Williams, Director, Global Diversity & Inclusion, Equity and Compliance, Lockheed Martin & Disability:IN Board Member
  2. Dr. Laura Cain, Chief Medical Officer, Health Services, Boeing & Betsy Tsukimura, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program Administrator, Boeing
  3. Eric Boissonnas, Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager, Raytheon Technologies
  4. Nikki Alphonse, Director, EEO Compliance and Workplace Accommodations, Northrop Grumman

Notes from the Company Sharing Sessions:

Employee Support:

  • Regular communication from both direct managers and company executives
    • Weekly meetings for check-ins, guideline updates, resource reminders, accommodation needs
    • Leverage ERGs for communication and better feedback from employee groups
    • Q&A sessions for employees
  • Home workspace accommodations:
    • Obviously moving as many employees to remote work, where possible
    • Offer employees the option to take company office set up home (monitor, supplies, chair)
    • Or set up a process for receiving home office requests, filtering through by priority needs
    • Offer tech help and remote communication tips
    • Offer managers resources and tips on how to best lead a virtual team
  • Providing PPE to those who still need to go into the workplace
  • Create a crisis management team
    • Include experts on infectious disease, human resources, D&I, travel, operations, security, and the executive team
    • Be sure to keep diversity and inclusion teams engaged around COVID-19 planning and communication processes, to support and include employees with disabilities
  • Create an employee hotline for employees to use if they are being tested or were tested positive
    • Symptom documentation
    • Collect family/household information
    • Provide guidelines around quarantine
    • Reminders on company benefits and resources
  • Review and update benefits around COVID
    • Telemedicine options
    • EAP programs in mental health
    • Change “caregiver” qualifications to be broader
    • Increase in PTO and overall schedule flexibility
  • Reentry planning
    • Slow and preplanned process
    • Keeping some roles remote long term
    • New safety and hygiene protocols in the workplace
      • Enhanced cleaning
      • Self-checks
      • Temperature screenings
      • Elevator capacities
      • Voice-activated buttons
    • Employees with disabilities or conditions
      • Keep anyone with a high risk of exposure home
      • Prioritize PPE distribution to high-risk employees
        • Provide clear face shields to those who are deaf or hard of hearing
      • Continue shuttle services for mobility affected employees, but enact new cleaning and distancing protocols
      • Keep an eye on those recovering from substance abuse, as many treatments and meeting support systems have been impacted or paused
      • Self-ID and privacy can be tricky, relying on informal network or ERGs is a good solution
      • Be sure to offer accessible technology: Digital apps for phones, captioning, ASL interpreters

Supplier Support:

  • Accelerated payments as small suppliers can’t afford to wait
  • Reach out to suppliers, inquire on their needs
  • Potential there for additional PPE sourcing

PPE Production:

  • Use or alter current manufacturing to produce PPE for employees, FEMA and/or first responders
  • Provide shipping and transport services for PPE delivery
  • Reach out to suppliers about PPE production
  • Have on central distribution team, so locations are not competing with one another
  • Clear masks are in high demand and many are not quality made

Community Support:

  • Keep company cafeterias open for employees and local groups in need (veterans, homeless)
    • Deliver meals to the hospitals
    • Utilize local food vendors if possible
  • Raise relief funds
  • Donate laptops to local schools and students
  • Food drives and food bank support
  • Donate hygiene kits
  • Create an employee COVID-19 matching gift program

Hiring:

  • Hiring needs continue to grow
  • Continue hiring through virtual hiring events, remote interviewing, and online onboarding
  • Work with partners around hiring needs

April 27, 2020 2:00pm EST

Speakers

  1. Paul Gennaro, Senior Vice President, Chief Brand and Communications Officer, Voya Financial & Disability:IN Board Member
  2. Cheryl Kaba, Director, Global Inclusion & Diversity, American Express
  3. Iliana De Santis, Principal Associate, Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion, Capital One
  4. Jennifer Kaplan, Head of Campus and Diversity Recruiting, AQR
  5. Rob Surratt, Workforce Development, Global Inclusion, State Street Corporation

Notes from the Company Sharing Sessions

Preplanning:

  • Having quarterly communication crisis drills already in place
  • Having “Business Continuity Days” where entire firm works from home, address issues then so everyone is prepared to work from home need be

Communications:

  • Remember that employees trust employers more than the media and government
  • Weekly messaging from executive leaders, both informative and positive in nature, is important
  • Have one internal site/page that holds all COVID-related information for employees
  • Reassure job security, and the company’s ability to adapt to employees new added home responsibilities (schooling kids, helping parents, etc.)
  • Share fun communication like sharing what the executive team is watching or reading these days, or weekly poetry sharing

Employee Benefits:

  • Remind employees of existing resources and programs (medical, tech, mental health)Covering COVID testing costs
  • Create resources for employees caring for others: parents, kids, disabled family members, etc.
  • Free mental health counseling services
  • Virtual mentorship opportunities
  • Virtual yoga and mediation sessions
  • Virtual “house parties” where employees and their families engage with other colleagues
  • Increased pay for those employees who cannot work remotely
  • Additional PTO
  • Crisis Care program, giving additional income for any employees housing new family members during the pandemic
  • Executive search firm available for families who suffered job loss or furloughing

Groups:

  • Utilize your ERGs to keep employees informed, share resources, and be engaged with each other
  • Create COVID groups: Those living alone, New Yorkers, Parents, etc.
  • Having a “Return Group” in place to plan how the workforce will return to work, how to do it safely, and capturing best practices from the time spent working at home
  • Monthly industry calls with colleagues outside of your organization

Events:

  • Voya is hosting a Mandy Harvey concert, this Wednesday at 8pm EST
  • 2020 Graduates Event, for all graduating employees and/or family members (high school, college, grad school, etc.)

Local Support:

  • No penalty fees for 401K account withdrawals
  • Free financial education online
  • Supporting nonprofit partners that support local communities (food banks, housing, and small businesses)
  • Donating technology services to inner-city communities
  • Promote virtual volunteer and available pro-bono opportunities to employees

April 29, 2020 2:00pm EST

Speakers:

  1. Gerard Dehrmann, SVP, Public Affairs and State & Local Government Relations, Walmart Inc. & Disability:IN Board Member
  2. Paul Cooper, Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity, The Coca-Cola Company & Terrez M. Thompson, VP, Global Supplier Diversity, The Coca-Cola Company
  3. Elizabeth Kendell, Bridges Program Manager, Recruiting, H-E-B
  4. Rachel Urquhart, Employment Counsel, Meijer
  5. Reginald Miller, VP, Global Inclusion & Diversity, VF Corporation

Notes from the Company Sharing Sessions:

Store Policy Changes for Customers

  • Hard to keep track of varying state policies, which often change each day
  • Institute a nationwide standard for all chains/stores, keep them all in sync
    • Common good practices are installing sneeze guards, metering the door entries, required employee masks, and making aisles one-way)
  • At-risk communities help
    • Special shopping hours, contact-free pick-up and check-outs
    • Offer a support line for at-risk groups where they can call in their order or complete their order online
    • Offer low-cost delivery
  • Can also offer special shopping hours for first responders
  • Be sure high demand items (paper products for example) are accessible and in reach for all customers

Associate Safety and Support

  • Institute nationwide standard protocols for employees, with clear communications
  • Employee health and safety is priority
  • Emergency leave policy
  • Have temperature and wellness checks before shifts
  • Have a testing process in place for associates
  • Offering PPE or allowing employees to bring their own
  • Retailers should preplan the reentry process for associates and customers

Hiring

  • Grocery stores are considered essential for the public
  • Large need for hiring is needed
    • Seeing large growth in the demand for online groceries, pick up options, and delivery services
    • A large percentage of the current workforce will be out due to COVID-19 contraction or health concerns around the virus
  • Acquiring a large short-term workforce, froze a lot of traditional roles
  • Virtualizing the recruiting and onboarding process

Communication

  • Keep messaging simplified
  • 6-20-100 method (staying 6 feet apart, washing hands for 20 seconds, and staying home if temperature is over 100 degrees)

PPE Supply

  • Difficult to find large amounts of personal protection equipment
  • The larger usual suppliers are low on supply, instead, lean on smaller diverse suppliers, even ones that do not normally manufacture PPE but perhaps now are
    • Give guidance to vendors on how to provide prices, timelines, etc.
  • If viable solutions are found, be sure to share supplier details with other partners, promote their services
  • Reach out to struggling suppliers and offer support/purchasing if possible
  • PPE for deaf or hard of hearing persons is problematic
    • Clear plastic shields are ideal but hard to come by
    • Deaf partners should be involved in the design process during manufacturing (testing fog, glare, and lip-reading abilities)
    • If no self-ID program is in place, companies need to collect data on how many deaf or hard of hearing employees are working, and in need of clear masks
      • Can be a simple survey to collect numbers, no personal identification information needed

Food Supply

  • Dealing with limited or low supply of meat, produce and paper products
  • Lean on local sources for produce and/or meat

April 29, 2020 2:00pm EST

Speakers

  1. David Casey, VP, Workforce Strategies & Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health & Disability:IN Board Member
  2. Adrian Hawkins, Immunology Account Manager, CapABLE ERG Co-Chair, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
  3. Heather Morgado, Associate Director, Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Engagement (DICE), Boehringer Ingelheim
  4. Liz MacFarland, EEO Consultant, HR Compliance, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  5. Kevin Irvine, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant, Individuals with Disabilities Co-Chair, Rush ADA Task Force; Facilitator, Rush Disabilities Employee Resource Group, Rush University Medical Center

Notes from the Company Sharing Sessions

Encourage Employee Inclusion and Belonging:

  • Remember social distancing is not social isolation
  • Leverage ERGs to feel connected across the org
  • Regular communications from leadership is important
    • Weekly emails
    • Candid town halls
    • Collect and answer all questions
    • Record meetings, for anyone who can’t join
  • Fun Spirited Events:
    • Virtual Galas
    • Virtual home tours from employees, (MTV “Cribs” inspired)
    • Book and Movie Clubs
    • Links to submit fun video montages for employee birthdays and anniversaries
    • Give access to employee families as well

Employee Benefits, Existing and New:

  • Health:
    • On site testing for employees and community members
    • Virtual counselors and nutritionists
    • Online webinars
    • Ergonomic tips
    • Mindfulness apps
    • Virtual yoga and exercise
    • Offer free meals after shifts
  •  Time:
    • Extended sick leave and PTO
    • Allow employees to donate to PTO sharing program
  •  Education:
    • Access to online courses or certifications, and other learning opportunities

HR & Talent Acquisition:

  • Expect a surge of patients
  • Upscaling home care and delivery services
  • Employing furloughed employees of partner companies (hospitality and travel for example)
    • Connect managers with furloughed employees – matchmaking
  • Need additional workforce working to connect with patients virtually
  • Complete onboarding virtually
  • Redeploy staff into remote roles
  • Start thinking about workplace reentry process
  • Focus on in-field workers

Community Services:

  • Ramping up testing efforts
    • Testing sites, collecting samples
    • Research on vaccines, trials, and treatments
  • Planning in-store testing sites
  • Funds and foundations to support local initiatives and communities, impacted by COVID-19
  • Ensuring patients have access to information, resources, medications, and affordable services
    • Suggest an FAQ page
  • Implementing temperature checkpoints in facilities

Address Care Disparities:

  • Advocate for equal access to healthcare
    • COIVD has been harder on a lot of communities (minorities, lower-income, the disabled community)
    • Work with state legislatures, so all communities are counted
  • Reaching out to patients and customers, check-in on people
  • Ensure your websites are fully accessible
  • Regarding visitor restrictions, consider exceptions for PWD (for PCAs or communication help)
  • Offer video remote interpreting for ASL and foreign language in clinics
  • Remember PPE will also be needed for PCAs

Communication:

Aside from a clear mask, the following ideas might be explored for communicating in alternative ways:
  • Where employees can be adequately distanced to where they may not need a full coverage of a mask, but still need some protection, perhaps just a clear face shield or hood could be used (provided the distance apart is not too far to read lips)
  • Where full protection is needed, a PAPR respirator will allow a view of the face
  • Social distancing may alleviate the need to wear a mask in some work areas. Whether this measure is enough will depend on how close people must work together to effectively complete job tasks, and effectiveness will depend on whether the distance is acceptable for lip reading
  • Video chatting from separate rooms (where masks can be removed) may work for some jobs
  • Allowing texting to communicate as an alternative, when appropriate. For example, the employer could provide mobile phones (or allow use of personal phones), to allow text communication with managers/co-workers/or customers
  • Using an iPad or PC to type or write messages back and forth, instead of lip reading. This can be done using a notes app or Word program, or an app for making handwritten notes on an iPad
  • Using a voice recognition app or assistive technology to convert speech to text using an iPad or smartphone – See Speech RecogniserDragon DictationHearing HelperAva
  • Using a mobile realtime captioning app/service – For examples, see Web CaptionerInnoCaptionLiveCaption
  • Using portable communication access technologies to communicate with co-workers and others. Communication access technology includes augmentative communication devices designed for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have speech impairment, and portable text communication systems that enable real-time text communication in a one-on-one context using a portable keyboard, or systems that convert speech to text or computer-generated sign-language. See:
  • UbiDuo by sComm, Inc.https://www.scomm.com/
  • Interpretype by Interpretype, LLChttp://www.interpretype.com
  • Interact-AS by SpeechGear, Inc.http://www.speechgear.com/img/newsletter/AS_PressRelease/Interact-AS_Professional_and_Consumer_Editions.html
  • Using pen and paper or dry-erase board

May 7, 2020 2:00pm EDT

Speakers:

  1. Apoorva Gandhi, Vice President, Multicultural Affairs and Business Councils, Marriott & Disability:IN Board Member
  2. James Ashworth, Vice President, of Customer Support & Service, Southwest Airlines
  3. Ron Pettit, Director, Disability Inclusion & ADA Compliance, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
  4. Kevin Keado, Business Manager, International Airport Operations, President of EQUAL (United Airlines’ LGBTQ+ Business Resource Group), United Airlines & Nathalie Cordeiro Nunes, Senior Manager – Global Diversity & Inclusion Strategy and Execution, United Airlines
  5. Corinne Abramson, Senior Director, Culture, Inclusion and Engagement, Choice Hotels
  6. Anila Jivanji, Senior Specialist, Inclusion and Diversity, American Airlines

Notes from the Company Sharing Sessions:

Employee Support

  • PPE distribution for employees
    • Work with supply chain partners for mask production
  • Clear and consistent messaging from leadership
  • Don’t forget to focus on disability including during the COVID pandemic
    • Especially around the return to work planning
    • Plan events or special communication around GAAD
    • Ensure technology is accessible, and share accessibility and inclusion tips for meetings
  • Create a central location for COVID related resources and information
    • Symptom tracker
    • Leave options for employees
    • Backtracking positive cases
    • Create a “Care Team” who call crew members who’ve been infected, make sure they are taken care of
    • Increased flex around schedule
    • Have a risk mgmt. team
    • Create an opportunity center with b2b engagement where members who are taking voluntary leave can directly apply to short term gigs like Instacart or Walmart
    • COVID information and updates
    • Company protocol updates and messaging for employees
  • Many hotel chains are independently owned
    • Corporate should be working with owners to help get back on their feet, relaxing normal requirements around branding – help them get staff back to work, and guests back in the hotel
  • If employees are not involved in immediate day to day business, they should be cleared to work remotely
  • Home office set up
    • Consider an assembly type system to put together laptops and distribute to employees
  • For those employees not able to work from home (internet, too many people at the home) companies can keep contact centers open
    • Enact temperature checks for those people, provide sanitizing wipes, apply assigned seating and keep number of employees limited
  • Offer employees stuck in the field more comfortable arrangements in cruise ship or hotel
    • Providing fun recreational activities for stress relief
  • Expand Employee Assistance Programs and resources
    • Mental health, webinars, virtual exercise and yoga
    • Volunteer opportunities for employees
    • Educational offerings
    • Special series such as virtual cooking, therapy classes, coffee chats with ERG leaders
  • Keep events on schedule for social connection
    • Convert events to virtual ones Connecting employees, don’t feel isolated
    • Remember June is LBGTQ Pride Month
    • Consider fundraising and events around the above
  • Offer training for managers on how to manage a remote team 

Customer COVID Accommodations

  • Guest/Customer safety is priority
  • Changing cleaning protocols
    • Higher standards
    • Using high grade disinfectants
    • Using ultraviolet technologies
    • Paying attention to high traffic areas: check in desks, key cards, doorknobs, bathrooms
    • Hand sanitizer stations
    • Use electrostatic misters
    • HIPA filters in cabins
    • Adding clear partitions to customer facing areas and check in desks
  • Remind guests/customers of social distancing protocols
    • Verbally and with signage
    • Rearrange searing and lobbies
    • Keep occupancy lower than normal, easy to do right now as business is down
    • Selling only 2/3 of flight capacity
  • Consult internal and external experts as advisors
    • In hygiene, infectious disease, food safety, hospitality management, etc.
  • Encourage and improve mobile capabilities such as mobile check-in, room access, and even room service orders
  • Update client point/loyalty programs to extend status and benefits
    • Relax change or cancellation and bag fees

Community Support

  • Providing rooms, many times complementary, to first responders and nurses
  • Supporting important external teams
    • Travel advisors for example are a huge part of travel and cruise bookings
    • Offer guidance around cares act applications and questions
  • Create and employee matching fundraiser
  • Care packages for veterans
  • Meals for local community kitchens and homeless centers

Hospitality and Travel Industry-Specific Notes

  • This industry has obviously been hit very hard right now
  • Seeing a lot of comradery in the business

May 5, 2020 2:00pm EST

Speakers

  1. Peggy Tedder, Senior D&I Project Specialist, Ameren Corporation
  2. Ken Barrett, Global Chief Diversity Officer, General Motors
  3. Tom Provoast, North America Co-Leader for Disability ERG, IT Global Service Manager for Incident Management, Dow Inc.
  4. Kyle Schumacher, Supply Chain Management Advisor, Chevron & David Feldman, Manager, Local Content/Supplier Diversity, Chevron

Notes from the Company Sharing Sessions

Employee Support:

  • Frequent communication from all levels of leadership
    • Leverage ERGs to keep colleagues connected and engaged
    • ERGs are also key in fostering diversity equity and inclusion
    • Weekly check-in calls
  • Core COVID-19 response team
    • Cross-functional team to plan and mitigate business risks and disruptions
    • All global HR directors should be on the same page
  • Safety measures
    • Providing PPE, working supplies, and medical supplies for essential workers at facilities
      • Priority care and supplies needed for workers in the field
      • Many are working long hours
      • Utilize private transportation services and chartered planes need be
    • Social distancing
    • Temperature checks on site
  • Support remote work
    • Provide needed office equipment for employee home workspaces
    • Offer reimbursement for accommodation needs
  • Review and Update Benefits
    • Those who test positive are able to stay home with full pay
    • Employee giving opportunities
    • PTO sharing plans
    • Expand mental health benefits
  • Create a COVID-19 resource guide/kit in one central online location
    • Include work-life balance tips, accessible technology guides, resources for working parents and employee’s children, team building exercising, leadership tools for virtual teams, D&I topics, mental health tips, ergonomic guidelines, EAP links/reminders, CDC/NIH guideline links, country-specific guidelines
    • Add an area for contractor expectations
    • Update this source daily
  • Events
    • Keep events scheduled but change them to virtual events instead
  • Global workforce
    • Many large companies started handling COVID troubleshooting early on as they have locations or manufacturing facilities in Asia and Europe
    • Need to a global plan to stay cohesive in communications and response
  • Returning to work
    • Starting to preplan this process
      • Will likely by a slower process in phases
      • Likely keeping high risk groups at home long term.
      • Start with increasing manufacturing capabilities/employee numbers, then apply process to other areas of the company
    • Considering surveying employees on their satisfaction around working remotely, and think about making some roles remote long term regardless of risk factor, if employees are happier and just as efficient at home
    • Areas of risk to consider
      • Employees who use public transportation
      • Office elevator capacity
      • Hygiene and cleaning services
      • High risk employee groups require deeper planning

Community Support:

  • Switching manufacturing facilities to ventilator, sanitizer, and/or mask production for hospitals
    • Share mask design files to the public and partner companies
  • Donations to relief efforts and local communities

Supplier Support:

  • Reach out to suppliers during this time of economic trouble
  • Remember the importance of your diverse suppliers in regard to your business functions
  • Work with them on possibilities around needed supplies

May 6, 2020 2:00pm EST

Speakers

  1. Megan Hobson, Partner, Americas Administration Leader, EY & Disability:IN Board Member
  2. Amy Smith, Consulting Managing Director, Deloitte
  3. Irina Goldberg, Manager, Inclusion and Diversity, KPMG
  4. Jason S. Capili, Director, E&C, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Notes from the Company Sharing Sessions

Employee Support:

  • Central resource portal for employees
    • Ensure all resources are accessible
    • Include guidelines, tech tips for working remotely, COVID-19 news
    • Resources for parents and caregivers
    • Benefit reminders
    • Curated content around children at home, especially for children with disabilities
  • Frequent communication from all levels of leadership
    • Video communication encouraged
    • Check-in on wellbeing and mental health of employees
    • Offer podcasts, webinars, or other engaging resources
    • ERGs can be a great help around communication
    • Company should prepare and understand that targets may not be hit this year and that this is okay
      • Reiterate this messaging to employees
      • Taking care of their families should and can be their priority
  • Accommodations
    • Seeing an increase in accommodation requests
    • Work to streamline approval process for requests
    • Prioritize disability needs
  • Benefits
    • Significant increase in anxiety help requests
      • Be sure to increase benefits and resources around mental health and stress management
    • Expand child and elder care
    • Expand PTO
    • Offer flexibility in schedules
  • Start planning return to work process
    • Return will and should be a slow process
    • Rethink travel needs for the workforce and client meetings
    • Consider hygiene issues around buttons, elevators, and social distancing
    • Increase cleaning services
    • Look at policies or guidelines around personal health and privacy (temperature checks for example)
      • OSHA has great resources
    • Start planning PPE stock, which will be tricky (don’t want to affect hospital needs)
  • Pay extra attention and care to employees with disabilities
    • Utilize a few employees who are disabled in different ways as bellwethers to see how this change in work is affecting them and their work
      • Is accessible tech working properly?
      • Do they have the physical set up they need?
      • Often times, it is easier to work from home – consider keeping some roles remote long term
    • Utilize disability ERGs and/or self-ID information, to help prioritize check-ins
      • Educate ERGs around managing caregiving while working at home
      • Take care of yourself, so you can better care for others
  • Consider specific resources for veterans, especially those who have been called out of reserves to help COVID efforts

Community Support:

  • Create care packages for field workers, both internal and external
  • Donate to local communities and first responders
  • Create a matching gift program

April 28, 2020 2:00pm EST 

Speakers

  1. Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft & Disability:IN Board Member
  2. Sara Basson, Accessible Googler Experience, President, Disability Alliance, Google
  3. Alicia Hawley, True Ability ERG, Communications Lead, Dell Technologies
  4. Catherine Nichols, Senior Director of Accessibility Programs, Office of Accessibility, Salesforce
  5. Terrell Neilson, D&I Communication Lead, Adobe & Carita Marrow, Diversity & Inclusion Talent Program Manager, Adobe

Notes from the Company Sharing Sessions

Utilize feedback from employees:

  • Lean into ERGs, to help get feedback from employees on what is working well and what needs improvement, around working from home and other areas of support needed
  • Accessibility ERGs should assist with tech development and troubleshooting
  • Create new ERGs around exercise, music, health, and other community-based topics
  • Remember that many people are overwhelmed with COVID changes at home, and submitting feedback is probably not a priority
  • Send surveys around to employees to make it easier to share feedback

Cultivate a sense of community:

  • Encourage empathy and the sharing of personal candid storytelling to bring people together
  • The above is especially powerful coming from leadership
  • Blog series, sharing employee stories around mental health, parent resources, etc.
  • Virtual coffee hours and town halls
  • Have non-work-related meetings, such as book or film clubs
  • Movie watch parties, discussion after, or even film-related guest speaker Q&As
  • 2:1 donation matching program for COVID relief efforts
  • Offering microloans to local businesses
  • Sharing virtual pro-bono opportunities with employees

Benefits:

  • Remind employees of current and new benefits
  • Be sure to highlight benefits around mental health
  • Work from home expense fund to create an adequate workspace at home
  • Flexible arrangements around scheduling

Common issues and challenges:

  • Riding the learning curve of transitioning large workforces to work from home
  • No access to company tech support teams when at home
  • Ergonomic accommodations unavailable at home
  • Remote sign interpretation and/or captioning either unavailable or unreliable at home
  • Rethinking of some common office features such as touch screens, small phone rooms, and the need to perhaps make doors automated
  • Tech limitations due to exponential increase in users

The bright side and innovations:

  • Increasing ways of communications (chatbox, emails, video, and audio)
  • Better phone call etiquette during conference calls
  • Better testing to improve technologies and their accessibility
  • More awareness around inclusive technology and the struggles PWD often face; accessibility has become a necessity
  • Collaboration amongst teams that would not normally connect
  • Using technology in new ways, like unused 3D printers creating medical supplies
  • Rethinking of some common office features such as touch screens, small phone rooms, and the need to perhaps make doors automated
  • Seeing colleagues, and more importantly leadership, dealing with the same issues is equalizing

About the COVID-19 Response Series

As we work together and learn during this unprecedented time, we are guided by two broad principles:

  1. Designing and implementing responses to COVID-19 that are based on facts, objective evidence, and science; and
  2. Ensuring that our responses are genuine, effective, and meaningful by taking into consideration the functional needs of all employees, including individuals with disabilities through the provision of reasonable accommodations, including accessible websites, online systems, mobile apps and other forms of information and communication technologies.

Disability:IN has compiled the following resources to support your disability inclusion work during COVID-19. Please know that more resources will be added as they become available. If you have a resource that isn’t listed but should be, please email Kate Calcutt.

Full COVID-19 Response Series