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WTW Director Rachael McCann discusses disability inclusion

WTW Director Rachael McCann discusses disability inclusion

 September 13, 2022

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WTW believes that a culture of inclusion and diversity (I&D) is critical to its business. The company is committed to creating an inclusive work environment where everyone is heard, respected and valued for who they are.

In a discussion with WorldatWork, WTW Senior Director of Integrated and Global solutions & Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Solutions Leader, Rachael McCann, shares the ways that organizations can get started with improving disability inclusion and how organizations can help employees with disabilities forge a path to leadership.

Increasing leadership roles for employees with disabilities

A new analysis finds that more companies are employing people with disabilities in leadership roles than in years past, and that organizations are also trying to make their corporate boards more inclusive of people with disabilities.

The Disability Equality Index (DEI) is a benchmarking tool designed to help companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions to achieve disability, inclusion and equality. More than 400 organizations, including 69 of the companies in the Fortune 100, participated in the 2022 Disability Equality Index, a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and global business disability inclusion network, Disability: IN.

The report found 126 companies with a Senior Executive, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or within the first two layers reporting to the CEO, who is internally known as being a person with a disability. That number stood at 99 in the 2021 DEI. In addition, 10 per cent of companies now have documents that govern nominations of board directors that specifically mention the consideration of people with disabilities, and 6 per cent have someone who openly identifies as having a disability serving on their company’s corporate board.

In a statement announcing the findings, Junior Co-Chair of the Disability Equality Index and AAPD Board Member Ted Kennedy, describes disability inclusion as “the new frontier of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing and corporate social responsibility.”

Ted also stresses the importance of engaging stakeholders with disabilities and weaving disability inclusion “into everything they do” as a way to prepare for the future and create sustainable businesses.

Organization inclusive of people with disabilities

Rachel explains that the effort starts with taking a thorough look at the entire talent lifecycle within an organization.

“This requires looking at data — the inclusivity of benefits and gaps, health and savings outcomes, promotion rotes, performance ratings, fair pay and (any potential) inequities,” says Rachel.

"This is a best practice for any underrepresented portion of the workforce (subject to data limitations)," she adds.

The data gleaned "will tell a story" and will help lead to simple but meaningful changes that aid the overall inclusion of employees with disabilities, for instance, benefits changes, revisiting language, images and accessibility of communications and recruitment tools, the role of the Manager, and training and education needs.

Commitment to expanding leadership development opportunities

David Hoff, Program Director with UMass Boston's Institute for Community Inclusion, explains that any discussion regarding how the organization can be more inclusive of people with disabilities, and how employees with disabilities can advance into leadership positions, should include people with disabilities themselves.

"It is also important to recognize that, like any group, people with disabilities are not a monolith," says David in a conversation with Workspan Daily.

"They vary greatly in types of disability, the impact of disability on their lives and their support needs," he adds.

In terms of expanding leadership development opportunities for employees with disabilities, David urges organizations to examine their current leadership development initiatives, and to ensure that people with disabilities are part of these efforts.

He explains that this includes avoiding stereotypes and presumptions about the leadership capabilities of people with disabilities, discussing employees' interest in leadership opportunities as part of performance reviews, and including individuals with disabilities in leadership development related activities.

"When recruiting for Managers and Leaders, be sure to have people with disabilities in the recruitment pool and as part of the interview team," says David.

"And don't have employees with disabilities only serving as leaders on disability issues," he comments.

Forge a successful leadership career with WTW

WTW knows that inclusion and diversity are fundamental to how the company hires, promotes, works with clients, and how its teams function.

Search career pathways with this progressive employer.


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