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Walgreens Boots Alliance strengthens commitment to expand disability representation

WBA is redesigning its annual bonus plan in the United States to include a disability representation metric.

Walgreens Boots Alliance is strengthening its commitment to increasing the representation of people with disabilities at all levels across the company’s U.S. segments and redesigning its annual bonus plan in the United States to include a disability representation metric to drive this commitment. The company will be the first in the S&P 500 to include disability representation as a separate, standalone metric within a disclosed incentive plan.

The goal is a core component of the company’s expanded U.S. health equity performance goal, which focuses on positively impacting key areas of health and well-being, especially for disproportionally impacted, underserved communities, including women, people of color and people with disabilities.

“We are very proud of our pioneering leadership in disability inclusion,” said Holly May, executive vice president and global chief human resources officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “By increasing our representation of people with disabilities, we are continuing to unlock a critical talent pipeline, providing sustainable work to this underrepresented community, and as such helping to address a number of social determinants of health including economic instability, social isolation and unemployment.”

[Read more: Walgreens eliminates task based metrics for pharmacy staff]

To further support these efforts, the company has formed a partnership with Neurodiversity in the Workplace, which designs plans and programs for companies to recruit, attract, hire and retain neurodiverse talent. The first cohort is expected to begin work at WBA’s global support office in Deerfield, Ill., in early 2023.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees with disabilities are three times more likely than employees without disabilities to be unemployed. Additionally, a recent report from the Center for American Progress found that nearly 14 million people with disabilities would have been working in 2021 if they were employed at the same rate as those without a disability.

"Recognizing and removing the barriers that neurodivergent job seekers and employees face creates a stronger, more inclusive workforce," said Joseph Riddle, director of Neurodiversity in the Workplace. “For years, Walgreens has been an industry leader in hiring disabled people, and we are proud to continue that work with them via this partnership.”

[Read more: Retailer of the Year 2021: Walgreens seizes its omnichannel opportunity]  

These new initiatives build upon Walgreens' long-standing commitment to hiring people with disabilities and complements the company’s existing and industry-leading retail and distribution center programs — Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative and the Transitional Work Group program. The REDI program began in Dallas, Texas, in 2010 and expanded nationally in 2012. TWG began in 2007 at a Walgreens distribution center in Anderson, S.C., has since expanded to 12 Walgreens distribution centers, and is now being implemented across Walgreens microfulfillment centers.

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