“You learn about equality in history and civics, but you find out life is not really like that.” - Arthur Ashe
Ernst and Young (EY), a multinational professional services firm in London, England, and one of Fortune’s 2017 100 Best Companies To Work For, achieved a perfect of 100% on the 2018 Disability Equality Index. The DEI measures the criteria set forth in their “Best Practices” standards when evaluating employers for the prestigious award. Examples of such criteria include the following:
Provide resources in a variety of forms through:
- Leadership Training
- Meetings and Events
- Offer/advance accommodations by understanding the disability
- Enable Internal Support Systems
AccessAbilities Network strives to create an inclusive and diverse environment by raising disability awareness, and by offering the necessary resources for individuals to succeed in their careers.
AccessChampions are leaders within the AccessAbilities Network who work to ensure the abilities-awareness messages are distributed into the community through meetings and local events. AccessChampions are responsible for maintaining oversight on all business, office and group activities, to ensure accessibility and inclusivity.
Network for Parents of Children with Special Health Care Needs is the network that EY employs to support parents of children with special health care needs. The network connects parents with others living in similar circumstances and hosts monthly meetings.
Ernst & Young also offers a network for caregivers of adults with disabilities called Caregivers Circle.
Ernst & Young creates an inclusive workplace by promoting neurodiversity. EY’s neurodiversity initiative targets individuals who think and perform differently from “neurotypical” people (those who do not have autism or other neurological variations). Many neurodiverse individuals, those with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, have a special affinity and gift for crunching numbers, remembering important details, and offering unique solutions to problems encountered in the business world.
The resources page geared towards inclusivity and diversity at EY also offers several information handouts. “Four Ways To Be Inclusive” offers some basic ways to be more mindful of people with differing abilities.
- Watch Your Words- Learn the preferred terms, avoid words that are derogatory.
- Just Ask- Don’t assume your help is needed. Ask first before taking liberties!
- Respect Differences- Individuals with disabilities can accomplish many of the same tasks as those with typical abilities, but they may simply have a different way of completing them. Try to withhold judgment and try to understand that there are also “invisible” disabilities that exist as well.
- Resist Judgement- Some people may not have a visible impairment, or may not fit your definition of disability. In such instances, it is best to avoid stereotyping and making assumptions.
EY has created a guide for individuals with disabilities to better understand the things to look for when considering taking a job a particular company. Does the company offer accessible workspaces and office? Are disabled individuals progressing within the company? Does the employer participate or support those in the disability community?
In addition to exploring the resources offered by EY, you can discover other companies that have made the cut on the Disability Equality Index Report.
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