You already know that disclosure of a disability doesn’t belong on a resume. But once you’ve gotten past the final interview and been offered a job, when do you disclose? And how do you know the company will be willing to offer accommodations?
Not all companies recognize disabilities come with unique talents, and not everyone is happy to give employees the time, technology, or work-environment changes to be successful. One Christian Science Monitor article suggested that it is not just the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) but a certain type of company culture that allows a worker with a disability to be successful. The article quoted an employment law firm representative, Robin Bond, saying, “How successful a disabled worker is at staying employed is more often determined by the sensitivity of the boss, and the culture the employer adopts,” rather than ADA regulations. Below are some questions to ask when looking for accessible companies to work for (adapted from an article from the online magazine DiversityInc and this online Ernst and Young publication).
- Is the company website inviting to applicants, customers, etc., with disabilities?
- Are publications and materials accessible in various formats?
- Is there a dedicated accommodations function/service in the company?
- Are there people with visible disabilities working at all levels, in all functions?
- Is there a company culture devoted to inclusiveness?
- Is there public recognition for the company’s disability-related practices/policies?
- Is there at least one disability-related professional networking group available?
- Is there evidence that employees with disabilities are progressing in their career?
As you search for inclusive companies, take a look at those below. These demonstrate what an inclusive, accessible company looks like and repeatedly rise to the top as some of the most disability-friendly work places.
Ranked the “No. 1 Company for People With Disabilities” and the “No. 5 Company for Mentoring” by DiversityInc, Ernst and Young perpetuates the inclusive legacy of company founder Arthur Young, who was deaf with low vision.
At Ernst and Young, disabilities are not seen as disadvantages but rather as different assets. The company appreciates a variety of abilities because the more diversity and inclusion that a company has, the higher it scores in areas like discretionary efforts (+12%), intent to stay (+19%), team collaboration (+57%) and team commitment (+42%), according to their research.
What their business is: Professional services firm offering assurance, tax, advisory and transaction advisory services to companies on a multinational level.
The company culture: Ernst and Young boasts of its “people culture” that attracts outstanding people and gives them the support to develop themselves professionally. Although a demanding work culture with long hours, the people are known for being friendly, helpful, and inclusive.
Some highlighted accommodations: Flexible work environment, professional networks for people of differing abilities, promoting disability awareness within company, inclusive and accessible programs and policies, support for parents with children or family members with disabilities, and more online resources
Find more information on the employer-review site Glassdoor.com.
Not only one of the most respected and admired companies on Fortune‘s lists, IBM also ranks as the “No. 1 Disabled-Friendly Workplace” by About.com and the “No. 4 Company for People with Disabilities” by the DiversityInc article linked above.
CEO Sam Palmisano has promoted the diversity of IBM employees, saying: “Accessibility–which started out as a philanthropic effort–has now evolved to a business transformation effort for IBM and our clients.”
IBM is a leader in promoting accessibility not just in the office but also in its technology products and services. As a developer of Information Technology, service provider, employer, etc., “we bring a philosophy that focuses on enabling and easing information access for the largest numbers of people whose disabilities restrict direct access. Frequently, this involves the creation of special products or modification of the products we design and manufacture.”
What their business is: IBM is an IT company that makes and sells computer hardware/software and offers consulting services on a multinational level.
The company culture: Employees feel valued; colleagues are friendly, reliable, competent; and IBM is well-known for its collaborative, team-oriented environment
Some highlighted accommodations: Disability awareness training within company, flexible working environment, products and services modified for accessibility, accessible website, materials and new content in accessible formats
In less than a decade, Walgreens has transformed itself into a leader in disability-friendly workplaces by creating a model that staffs 40 – 50% of each of its distribution centers with employees with a disability, who are held to the same standards as other workers. Walgreens’ ultimate goal is to fill more than 20% of its positions with employees with a disability.
Although Walgreens is not well-known for promoting these hires, reviewers at Glassdoor.com say the company is a good place to for a stable job or to start off at and gain experience.
What their business is: Walgreens is a wellness center and neighborhood retailer that provides pharmaceutical services and products
The company culture: Depends on the local manager
Some highlighted accommodations: Accessible work environment, disability awareness training for all workers, managers trained in supporting workers with a disability, willing to coordinate with state Vocational Rehabilitation centers
Top photo courtesy of Flazingo Photos
Ernst and Young photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
IBM photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Walgreens photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons