- Employees with disabilities are less likely than workers without disabilities to report they possess the freedom to use their judgment to accomplish their jobs, according to the results of a survey from Global Disability Inclusion and Mercer released March 9. The survey represents more than 1.7 million employee responses, as it draws on the disability demographic portion of Mercer's 2008-2018 engagement benchmark database. Global Disability Inclusion detected a 13 percentage point difference between workers with and without disabilities who affirmed their ability to work freely.
- A 12 percentage point difference existed between the groups when they reported whether they received recognition from management, with more workers without disabilities saying they receive positive feedback. Similar discrepancies arose when workers were asked if they were appropriately involved in decisions about their work, if they had opportunities for advancement and if they were able to make good use of their "skills and abilities" at work.
- The gaps shrunk — though they still existed, always with employees with disabilities behind — when workers were surveyed about their overall engagement. Three percentage points separated the amount of workers who said they were motivated "to go beyond to help [the] company be successful," for instance.
People with disabilities comprise a large minority group in the workplace, the report said. Despite this, few companies investigate the employee experience of workers with disabilities. "Companies need to better understand the work experience of employees with disabilities, who likely represent 20% of their workforce," the report said.
A better look into the work experience of employees with disabilities is just one component of a strategy revamp employers need to carry out to better serve this group, Easterseals President and CEO Angela F. Williams previously wrote in an opinion for HR Dive. Employers need to use the information they glean to identify employee needs and implement changes. "For example," she wrote, "hiring directors and employee managers may need to attend training sessions to better understand best practices in disability etiquette and policies that can facilitate an inclusive workplace."
The University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability revealed in a February 2020 report that workers with disabilities "are left behind"; despite increases in workplace diversity, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was higher in 2020 as compared to 2019. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., workers with disabilities experienced disproportionate rates of job loss, results of a previous Global Disability Inclusion survey revealed.