The year 2021 was a pivotal one for DE&I efforts across the country. Not only did hybrid work help with issues such as workplace discrimination, but it also ushered in a more accessible environment for disabled workers.
According to a recent Adobe jobs survey of 1,000 full-time, part-time, and student workers in the United States — including respondents with and without disabilities — employers have done better supporting disability needs. Still, etiquette education, recruitment, and retention can be improved.
According to the CDC, one in every four American adults (61 million) identifies as disabled, making it critical for employers to have policies and initiatives that prioritize and empower workers with disabilities. The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic caused workplaces to be more intentional in creating workplace inclusivity, and many survey respondents noticed a significant difference. Indeed, more than three-quarters of people with disabilities believe their workplace for instance amazon work from home is doing a better job of supporting them (77 percent). In contrast, a similar number believe their co-workers are considerate of their unique needs.
The majority of non-disabled survey respondents (82 percent) say they frequently or occasionally consider the accessibility needs of their co-workers with disabilities. The remaining 18%, on the other hand, report that they rarely or never consider their co-workers accessibility needs.
Regardless of disability status, 84 percent of those polled believe workplace accessibility would benefit co-workers. According to EARN, the employer assistance and research network on disability inclusion, workplace accessibility includes digitally accessible information and communication jobs technology and physical accessibility. Workplace accessibility is also beneficial to business owners.
“It’s not only people with disabilities who benefit from accessible workplaces. Accessible workplaces help businesses increase productivity; ensure a wider pool of talent can apply for, maintain and advance in employment; and expand their potential customer base,” EARN says on their website.
The majority of members of the disability community polled by Adobe (nearly three out of four) say that accessibility and inclusivity benefits are deciding factors when evaluating a job opportunity. Most millennials, both with and without disabilities, valued these benefits highly, with 80 percent citing them as a significant deciding factor.
As the current “Great Resignation” sees an increase in the number of Americans quitting their jobs, employers are under pressure to improve their efforts to retain employees. Mental health support was a top area of interest among people with disabilities, with 73 percent identifying it as a primary concern, compared to 33 percent of those without disabilities.
Access to hybrid work was also a significant motivator for employees, especially given the ongoing pandemic. Adobe discovered that 46 percent of the general population first considers a company’s hybrid and remote work policies when deciding on a job opportunity. This was even more prevalent among the disabled community, with 58 percent preferring remote and hybrid work environments.