CVS, Walgreens and Walmart each ace Disability Equality Index

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CVS, Walgreens and Walmart each ace Disability Equality Index

By Michael Johnsen - 08/24/2017

WASHINGTON — CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart each received a perfect score of 100% on the 2017 Disability Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to disability inclusion and workplace equality, administered by the U.S. Business Leadership Network and American Association of People with Disabilities.

“It’s an honor to be acknowledged by the Disability Equality Index for our commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce that aligns with our mission to champion everyone’s right to be happy and healthy,” stated Steve Pemberton, VP and global chief diversity officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Our Walgreens Disability Inclusion Network business resource group has been especially helpful with evolving our policies and practices to help ensure we continue our historical commitment of employing people with disabilities.”

The 2017 DEI rated 110 businesses in the report, which evaluates disability inclusion-related policies and practices including cultural leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices, community engagement and support services. This year a record 68 employers have earned the top rating of 100, including the three retailers above.  

The companies participating in the 2017 DEI represent 21 different sectors of the American economy, and have a total U.S. workforce of approximately 7.2 million workers—or approximately 5% of all American workers. In addition to their impact on the American workforce, these companies have a substantial financial impact on the American economy, with all publicly held corporations totaling representing nearly $6 trillion in market value. 

Since the commencement of the DEI, corporate America has significantly advanced efforts to be inclusive of people with disabilities. In fact, the DEI report shows external employee recruitment has become even more inclusive with 95% of all 2017 DEI companies report having recruitment efforts in place that are specifically geared toward hiring individuals with disabilities; an 11 percentage point increase since 2014.  

Companies are also becoming more inclusive internally to employees with disabilities. As many as 88% of reporting companies have a specific disability-focused employee resource group or affinity organization; an 18 percentage point increase since 2015. In addition, 86% of DEI companies reported a senior executive proactively acts as a champion or sponsor of these resource/affinity groups; a 17 percentage point increase since 2015. Both points signal corporate culture is gradually shifting to be more inclusive; from various directions of the company.  

Conversely, the DEI results show where corporate America still lags in the journey towards disability inclusion. For example, although many participating companies recognize USBLN certified disability-owned business enterprises, only 51% of reporting companies report having disability included in their supplier diversity programs – up slightly from 49% in 2016.  

Another opportunity for improvement is in interview accommodations. Only 39% of DEI companies communicate the option to request an accommodation for the interview. Another barrier towards inclusivity is accessibility. Despite the recent momentum gained with web accessibility efforts (including the #a11y initiatives), just over half of the DEI companies audit their external websites for accessibility. This number drops to 26% when it comes to their internal websites.  

“We applaud those companies that are advancing their disability inclusion efforts across the business,” stated Jill Houghton, president and CEO of USBLN. “Taking the DEI is an important step within the journey, backed with concrete data and insight. The release of this report, and the 68 leading companies, challenges other companies to fill in those critical gaps, and realize the possible results by being inclusive to people with disabilities, throughout the workforce, marketplace and supply-chain.”