Kroger, Meijer, Target and Walmart are among the retailers to earn the highest possible score on the 2021 Disability Equality Index, a benchmarking tool that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions they can take to achieve disability inclusion and equality—earning them the distinction of “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion.”
A joint initiative by Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the Disability Equality Index (DEI) measures key performance indicators across organizational culture, leadership, accessibility, employment, community engagement, support services and supplier diversity.
The DEI found that 83% of companies have external recruiting efforts geared specifically to people with disabilities. Additionally, 97% of companies offer flexible work accommodations, and 91% of provide a wellness benefit that extends beyond Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) or mental health benefits.
Each company receives a score, on a scale of zero to 100%, with those earning 80% and above recognized as a "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion." Disability:IN and AAPD note, however, that a 100% score does convey perfection. “There is no one ‘right way’ to practice inclusion, and that some practices may be more practical for some companies or industries than others,” the organizations said on the Disability:IN website. “A score of 100% on the DEI simply means that a company adheres to many of the numerous leading disability inclusion practices featured in the DEI.”
The retail companies that received a 100% score are: CVS Health, The Kroger Co., Meijer, Target, Walgreens and Walmart. Amazon was the only retail company to score a 90%, and there were no retailers in the 80% group.
A total of 319 businesses participated in the DEI vs. 247 in 2020.
"The events of the last year highlighted gaps workplaces face in supporting members of marginalized communities," said Timothy Williams, VP of diversity and inclusion for Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer. "We continue to learn how to better support our team members with disabilities every day and appreciate seeing those efforts recognized again this year."
The DEI found that 5% of employees self-identified as having a disability in 2021, an increase from 3.7% in 2019, and that 4% of new hires self-identified as having a disability in 2021 vs. 3.2% in 2019.
Williams said much of Meijer’s success in the disability inclusion space is a direct result of team members driving innovation, pointing to the Meijer Disability Awareness and Advocacy Group, whose mission is to advance the company's commitment to respecting and valuing diversity and inclusion by serving as a resource and liaison for all team members on issues of disability inclusion and equality.
The AAPD is the nation's largest disability rights organization and Disability:IN is a global business disability inclusion network. The Disability Equality Index was developed by the DEI Advisory Committee, a diverse group of business leaders, policy experts and disability advocates.
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