Driving Revenue and Diversity: The Workforce Impact of Disability Inclusion

In a groundbreaking research report, Accenture, in collaboration with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), has unveiled compelling evidence that companies leading in disability inclusion outperform their peers financially. The report, titled “The Disability Inclusion Imperative,” builds on the landmark 2018 study on disability inclusion in the United States, exploring the evolving landscape across 346 companies using the Disability Equality Index (DEI) as a benchmark. For workforce development professionals, this research offers critical insights into the undeniable benefits of fostering an inclusive workplace for individuals with disabilities.

The Business Case for Disability Inclusion:

Over the past five years, companies prioritizing disability inclusion criteria have demonstrated remarkable financial performance. The research reveals that these leaders have experienced 1.6 times more revenue, 2.6 times more net income, and 2 times more economic profit than their counterparts in the DEI. Additionally, leaders are 25 percent more likely to outperform industry peers in productivity. This evidence underlines the economic advantages of creating an inclusive work environment for individuals with disabilities.

The Changing Workforce Landscape:

The report notes a significant shift in the workforce landscape, with the percentage of people with disabilities increasing from 29 percent to 37 percent since 2018. The most substantial progress has occurred since the beginning of the global pandemic in February 2020, attributed to increased work-from-home opportunities, improved digital accessibility, and a growing understanding of inclusivity in the hiring process. Emerging technologies, including AI-powered platforms, further contribute to advancing disability inclusion in the workplace.

The Role of Business Leaders:

Jill Kramer, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Accenture, emphasizes the dual importance of disability inclusion from both a business and societal perspective. To empower business leaders, the report introduces a comprehensive framework designed to guide intentional efforts in disability inclusion:

  1. Access: Remove barriers and provide equal access to employment opportunities.
  2. Awareness: Foster a culture of empathy and respect, challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusivity.
  3. Advocacy: Create an environment for individuals to comfortably disclose disabilities and amplify their voices.
  4. Action: Integrate disability inclusion initiatives to create a more accessible and equitable workplace.
  5. Accountability: Measure progress, share outcomes, and demonstrate a commitment to improving disability inclusion.

Championing Disability Inclusion:

The report urges organizations to recognize people with disabilities as a valuable source of talent, innovation, and market share. Jill Houghton, President and CEO of Disability:IN, encourages companies to leverage the DEI to benchmark inclusion efforts, citing the business case’s strength: 1.6 times more revenue, 2.6 times more net income, and 2 times more economic profit.

For workforce development professionals, this research reinforces the importance of integrating disability inclusion strategies into talent development programs. By embracing the framework provided, organizations can actively contribute to a more inclusive and prosperous future for both individuals with disabilities and the businesses that recognize their immense potential.