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NOD Announces 2017 Leading Disability Employers

"We help America put ability to work," said NOD Chairman Tom Ridge. About half of Seal recipients are recognized on DiversityInc's 2017 lists.

National Organization on Disability Chairman, Gov. Tom Ridge, announces the 2017 Leading Disability Employer Seal winners. / NOD

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) has announced 45 organizations that have been selected to receive the 2017 NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal.


Now in its second year, the Seal recognizes companies that demonstrate exemplary employment practices for people with disabilities. This annual recognition is designed to applaud those organizations that are leading the way in disability hiring and to encourage additional companies to tap into the many benefits of hiring talent with disabilities, including strong consumer preference for companies that employ individuals with disabilities and greater employee engagement across the workforce.

"The National Organization on Disability is a labor-market leader with a mission to break down the wall that separates the abilities and aspirations of 57 million Americans from the avenues of opportunity, achievement, and fulfillment that come from productive employment," said NOD Chairman Governor Tom Ridge. "We help America put ability to work. And so do the winners of this year's NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal. We thank these leading companies for their commitment to building a disability inclusive workforce."

Approximately 50 percent of the winners are 2017 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies:

Abbott (No. 10), Accenture (No. 14), Aetna (No. 31), Anthem (No. 20), AT&T (No. 3), The Boeing Company (Noteworthy Company), Comcast Corporation (No. 19), Eli Lilly and Company (No. 16), EY (No. 1), The Hershey Company (Noteworthy Company), Hilton (No. 30), Horizon BCBS of New Jersey (Top Regional Company), Kaiser Permanente (No. 2), KeyBank (No. 43), KPMG (No. 11), Marriott International (No. 8), MassMutual (Noteworthy Company), Nielsen (No. 32), Northrop Grumman (No. 29), Prudential Financial (No. 15), PwC (No. 4), and TD Bank (No. 38).

The winning organizations were announced at NOD's annual disability employment forum, Inclusion by Designsponsored by PwC and hosted by The Boeing Company and are being celebrated using the campaign hashtag #NODdisabilityemployer.

According to a Pew Research Study, Americans with disabilities earn less than 70 percent of the median earnings for those without a disability. The median earnings of a person with a disability in 2015 was $21,572, compared to $31,872 for a person without a disability.

The study also reported lower rates of technology adoption. Nearly a quarter of those who identified as having a disability reported they never go online and are less likely to own a traditional computer, smartphone or tablet.

However, limited income can play a factor when it comes to buying informative or specialized technology. According to Pew, a head-mounted mouse, a wireless mouse sensor, costs 10 times more than a typical mouse, including a large keyboard that can cost 5 times as much as a standard keyboard. Meanwhile, A braille computer keyboard costs over $3,000, whereas a standard PC keyboard can be as little as $14.99.

However, what is more important is the ability of employers to recognize potential and untapped talent by creating progressive practices that allow individuals with disabilities to thrive in corporate settings.

The NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal is awarded based on data furnished by companies in response to NOD's Disability Employment Tracker, a free, confidential, online assessment and benchmarking of companies' disability inclusion programs in the following areas:

  • Climate & Culture
  • People Practices
  • Talent Sourcing
  • Workplace & Technology
  • Strategy & Metrics

While the Tracker is confidential, organizations may opt to be considered for the NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal. Responses are scored, taking into account both disability employment practices and performance. Scoring prioritizes practices that are associated with increased disability employment outcomes over time, and companies receive additional points based on the percentage of people with disabilities in their workforce.

The Disability Employment Tracker was developed by NOD in partnership with the National Business and Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center and Mercer | Sirota. Offered annually, the Tracker was introduced in 2013 with lead support from the Exelon Foundation and guidance from leading research firm J.D. Power.

To be considered for the 2018 NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal, companies must complete the Disability Employment Tracker during the qualifying window. Pre-register now for the 2018 Disability Employment Tracker, opening Oct. 1, 2017, or sign up to be notified when the 2018 qualifying window opens.

Click here for a complete list of 2017 Leading Disability Employer Seal winners.

Humana Recognized for Exemplary Disability Hiring and Employment Practices

Diversity is a business imperative at Humana, and success means recognizing and celebrating the unique characteristics, backgrounds and beliefs of our employees and tapping into that knowledge to inspire innovative and strategic thinking.

Originally Published by Humana.

Humana has been recognized by The National Organization on Disability (NOD) as one of the 2018 NOD Leading Disability Employers. The NOD Leading Disability Employer seal recognizes companies that demonstrate exemplary employment practices for people with disabilities.

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Let's Stop Cheating the Disabled

Sheltered workshops are vestiges of the past and should be reformed or abolished.

By Carol Glazer, President of the National Organization on Disability

Consider this: Businesses in regions with the lowest unemployment rates employ disproportionate numbers of workers with disabilities [1].

The implication? People with disabilities are more than capable, they're just not companies' first, second, or even third choice. But when employers need talent, they give new people a chance. And when given the chance, people with disabilities succeed.

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Alaska Airlines Under Fire for Separating Gay Couple on Flight to Give Seats to Heterosexual Couple

"We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight and left the plane," David Cooley said in a Facebook post.

FACEBOOK

Alaska Airlines is apologizing for an act of blatant discrimination against a same-sex couple, but the damage is already done as #BoycottAlaskaAirlines is circulating social media.

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Invisible Disabilities the Subject of National Organization on Disability Corporate Leadership Council Meeting

Discussions about how employers can support their team members to bring their whole selves to work.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION ON DISABILITY

Last week, National Organization on Disability's (NOD) Corporate Leadership Council hosted the "Bringing Our Whole Selves to Work: Harnessing the Power of Difference by Uncovering Invisible Diversity Traits" event that brought together executives, managers, and employees from various corporations challenged the attendees to think about how people tend to leave a part of themselves at home when they come to work, and how difficult it might be for employees with 'invisible disabilities' to" come out" at work.

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Originally Published by National Organization on Disability.

On November 1st, the National Organization on Disability held our Corporate Leadership Council Fall Luncheon and Roundtable. Hosted at Sony's New York offices, the event centered on the topic of mental health in the workplace.

Members of our Board of Directors and executives from nearly 40 companies held a candid conversation, heard from business leaders, and participated in an insightful Q&A where successful strategies were discussed to accommodate and support employees with mental illness in the workplace.

"Mental illness is the single biggest cause of disability worldwide," said Craig Kramer, a panelist at the event and Chair of Johnson & Johnson's Global Campaign on Mental Health. "One out of four people will have a clinically diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives," he continued. Another 20 to 25% of the population will be caregivers to loved ones with a mental illness.

The costs are staggering. "In the coming decades, mental illness will account for more than half of the economic burden of all chronic diseases, more than cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases combined…. It's trillions of dollars," said Kramer.

From an employer's perspective, the need for a successful strategy to deal with mental illness in the workplace is clear. But what are the most effective ways to confront this challenge? Roundtable participants discussed a wide range of ideas and success stories aimed at de-stigmatizing mental health and incorporating the issue into wider conversations around talent, productivity, and inclusion.

6 KEY TAKEAWAYS ON MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE:

  1. Be empathetic. "The most important workplace practice [with respect to mental health] is empathy," said NOD President Carol Glazer. Empathy is critical for normalizing conversations about mental health, but also for maximizing productivity. "A feeling of psychological safety is important," said Lori Golden, a panelist and Abilities Strategy Leader for Ernst & Young; and this sense of safety requires the empathy of colleagues to flourish.
  2. Tell stories. "Nothing is more activating of empathy than for people to share their powerful stories," said Dr. Ronald Copeland, NOD Board member and Senior Vice President of National Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Policy and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Kaiser Permanente. Copeland's organization partners with the renowned nonprofit, Story Corps, to capture the stories of Kaiser Permanente employees, and also provides a platform on the company intranet for employees to communicate in a safe space. Both Craig Kramer and Lori Golden also shared examples of how their companies provide opportunities to share their stories and "start the conversation, break the silence," as Kramer put it.
  3. Model from the top. Carol Glazer received a standing ovation at the luncheon for her account of her own experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This type of executive-level modeling sends a powerful message that a company is committed to improving mental health for all employees. Lori Golden shared how EY had experienced great success with a program where top-level managers host office-specific events and share stories of mental illness or addiction that they are personally connected to – either about their colleagues or loved ones or, in a surprisingly high number of instances, about themselves. Senior leadership setting the example conveys that this is a forum in which employees can feel comfortable sharing.
  4. Communicate peer-to-peer. "We all know that there's greater trust of our own peers than there is of the organization," said Lori Golden. So to build trust, EY "took it to the grass roots," creating formal opportunities for employees to have conversations about mental health and asking other ERGs to co-sponsor these events. Craig Kramer also noted that Johnson & Johnson had simply folded mental health issues into their global disability ERGs, eventually building the world's second-largest mental health ERG by piggy-backing on existing infrastructure and leveraging existing connections.
  5. Be flexible. Accommodating [the fact that people live busy, complex lives] gets you better buy-in…and keeps production pretty high," suggested Dr. Copeland. A representative from one Council company concurred, explaining how their company has recently instituted a new policy of paid time off for caregivers on top of federally-funded leave. "Being in a culture in which we measure what you produce and not whether you show up in person all day, every day, and where if you can't be there, you negotiate how the deliverables will get done and in what time frame…is immensely helpful to people who themselves have mental illness issues or addiction or are caring for those who do and may need some flexibility," summarized Lori Golden.
  6. Build a trustworthy Employee Action Plan. Many employees do not access or even trust their organization's internal resources. According to Craig Kramer, the percentage of calls placed to most company Employee Action Plans (EAPs) regarding mental health is "in the low single digits," while "if you look at your drug spend, you'll find that around 50% is [related to] mental health." The people answering those calls must be trained in mental health issues, and employees also need to be assured that EAPs are truly confidential.

While revealing and accommodating mental illness remains a massive challenge in the workplace and beyond, a number of successful strategies are emerging for tackling this challenge – many of them pioneered by companies in NOD's Corporate Leadership Council.

Five Questions with Dr. Ronald Copeland of Kaiser Permanente on Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

Depression and other mental health conditions are a leading cause of workplace disability in the form of lost productivity because of how common they are–1 out of every 5 people are suffering from a mental health condition at any given time–and because they tend to occur when people are young.

Originally Published by National Organization on Disability.

Kaiser Permanente's focus on reducing mental health stigma for consumers and members also applies to its own employees. The National Organization on Disability caught up with Ron Copeland, MD, to understand how to best create a supportive and inclusive workplace for people who are experiencing a mental health condition.

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