Blog authored by Jasmine Brennan, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Allegis Group
As the global leader in talent solutions, we strive to create an enabling culture for people with diverse abilities and are committed to ensuring everyone feels like they belong and can perform at their best. So today, we recognize International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD), which focuses on empowering individuals with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.
The United Nations states that among the seven billion people in the world, nearly 15 percent, or more than one billion people, live with some form of disability. In the United States alone, Accenture finds that individuals with disabilities represent an untapped talent pool of over 10 million people. The research demonstrates that organizations with a focus on disability inclusion benefit from a wider pool of talent, skills, and innovative solutions. Our diverse workforce, including employees with disabilities, affords us with a competitive edge, helping to diversify and strengthen our workplaces through varied perspectives.
For example, our company Allegis Global Solutions (AGS) has an employee resource group called ENABLE that represents individuals with disabilities, their caretakers, and advocates. It drives inclusion and accessibility for individuals with disabilities, increased internal visibility, and awareness of disability groups. Today, ENABLE is participating in the #PurpleLightUp initiative, powered by Purple Space, a networking and professional development hub for individuals with disabilities and allies. Among other activities, #PurpleLightUp supporters have “gone purple for the day” by illuminating buildings, adopting purple website themes, and implementing purple dress codes to demonstrate advocacy for disability inclusion.
Overcoming the challenges faced by people with disabilities in the workplace requires interventions to remove barriers, and we’re excited to see more and more companies bringing heightened awareness to the issue. For example, in conjunction with developing consultative strategies to attract and hire professional individuals and veterans with disabilities, our company Getting Hired also serves as an ally to clients in the cultivation of inclusive and accessible workplaces. Disability status can change, and disabilities can be acquired, which is why it is incumbent upon employers to ensure that the workplace is both inclusive and accessible.
Workplace accessibility, the design of products, devices, service and/or environments for individuals with varying abilities, is a critical component of ensuring that all employees are positioned to do their best work. Effective accommodations are modifications or adjustments to the job, hiring process, or work environment that typically cost less than $500; many cost nothing at all. Implementing and maintaining clear, relevant policies and practices that guide talent acquisition, accessibility, and accommodation are a best practice for disability inclusion, as well. (Check out these Getting Hired articles on inclusive hiring strategies and how to remove barriers to disability inclusion for further insight.)
Sustaining an inclusive culture goes hand-in-hand with driving high performance, productivity, engagement, and retention. By removing barriers that impact the ability for differently abled employees to contribute, organizations have reaped the benefits of innovation, collaboration, and diverse vantage points. Across the Allegis Group companies, strategies and programs exist to support the cultivation of cultures of belonging, engagement, inclusion, and accessibility. We leverage days like IDPWD as opportunities to continue to enhance our understanding of the experiences and celebrate the impact of our diverse, global workforce.