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Employer Best Practices in Employing People with Disabilities

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1. Employer Best Practices in Employing People with Disabilities. Susanne M. Bruyère Employment and Disability Institute Lisa H. Nishii Human Resource Studies November 12, 2008. 2. www.ilr.cornell.edu. Presentation Objectives.

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Employer Best Practices in Employing People with Disabilities

Susanne M. Bruyère

Employment and Disability Institute

Lisa H. Nishii

Human Resource Studies

November 12, 2008

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www.ilr.cornell.edu

presentation objectives
Presentation Objectives
  • Examine workplace factors which may contribute to ongoing barriers in the successful hiring, retention, and career advancement of employees with disabilities
  • Identify workplace policies and practices which address barriers & contribute to more effective hiring, accommodations, retention and engagement of people with disabilities

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importance of employment focus
Importance of Employment Focus
  • People with disabilities continue to be significantly un- under-employed, compared to their nondisabled peers.
  • Claims of discrimination are higher, in comparison to other protected groups.
  • The ADAA provides an opportunity to re-examine and improve workplace practices, especially in light of an aging workforce.

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presentation overview
Presentation Overview
  • Employment gap for people with disabilities
  • Areas (disability type/employment process) of disability employment discrimination
  • Continuing barriers to accommodation and employment disability nondiscrimination
  • Ways to address those barriers
  • Disability as a diversity issue
  • Workplace culture and disability inclusion

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employment gap ages 21 64
Employment Gap (Ages 21-64)

Gap=42.8%

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Source: Calculations by W. Erickson, Cornell University, Employment and Disability Institute, using the American Community Survey (ACS) 2007. Research funded by the USDE-NIDRR.

percentage of ada charges by basis top 5 disabilities 1993 2007
Percentage of ADA Charges by Basis (Top 5 Disabilities), 1993-2007

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Source: Calculations by M. Bjelland, Cornell University, Employment and Disability Institute, using the EEOC IMS files, 1993-2007. Research funded by the USDE-NIDRR.

percentage of ada claims by issue top 5 1993 2007
Percentage of ADA Claims by Issue (Top 5), 1993-2007

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Source: Calculations by M. Bjelland, Cornell University, Employment and Disability Institute, using the EEOC IMS files, 1993-2007.

Research Funded by the USDE-NIDRR.

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Number of Charges by Statute per 10,000 People in the Labor Force with Protected Class Characteristics, 1993-2007

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Source: Calculations by M. Bjelland, Cornell University, Employment and Disability Institute, using the EEOC IMS files, 1993-2007. Research funded by the USDE-NIDRR.

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Factors Impacting Successful Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities*

*Illustrative, not exhaustive, list

Systems / Organizational Factors

  • Individual Factors
  • Nature of disability/impairment
  • Prior work experience
  • Prior training
  • Family/social supports
  • Public Policy Factors
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Work Incentives
  • Health Care Coverage
  • Nondiscrimination Legislation
  • Workforce Development Initiatives
  • Efficacy/philosophy of state VR service delivery systems
  • Efficacy/philosophy of community-based support services
  • Employer policies and practices

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Source: Bruyère, S.  (2000). Disability employment policies and practices in private and federal sector organizations. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations Extension Division, Program on Employment and Disability.

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Source: Bruyère, S.  (2000). Disability employment policies and practices in private and federal sector organizations. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations Extension Division, Program on Employment and Disability.

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Source: Bruyère, S.  (2000). Disability employment policies and practices in private and federal sector organizations. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations Extension Division, Program on Employment and Disability.

emerging issues
Emerging Issues
  • Employers will be asked to make accommodations to retain an aging workforce (as workforce ages, visual and hearing disabilities become more common, as do upper extremity issues due to arthritic conditions)
  • Workplace culture and climate for inclusion is an important factor for the successful employment of diverse populations, including an aging employee population and people with disabilities
  • Workplace culture should be a focus of attention

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the aging workforce
The Aging Workforce
  • The 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 year old U.S. population is projected to grow by nearly 44.2 million (17%) and 35 Million (39%) in the next ten years*
  • This group will account for nearly half (44%) of the working age population (20-64) by the year 2010*
  • The prevalence of disability grows with age (Figure 1)
  • By 2010 the number of people with disabilities between the ages of 50 and 65 will almost double, and will be significantly larger than at any other age**

*From U. S. Census Bureau population projects http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/usinterimproj/ accessed March 17, 2005.

**From “The Economic Consequences of Disability Onset Near Retirement,” mimeo, Robert Weathers 2005.

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Source: NIDRR Demographics and Statistics RRTC at Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute, calculations from 2003 ACS PUMS file performed by Robert Weathers, 2005.

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Source: NIDRR Demographics and Statistics RRTC at Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute, Disability Prevalence Rates from 2003 American Community Survey (ACS) applied to U. S. Census Bureau population forecasts performed by Robert Weathers. 2005.

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why workplace culture as a focus
Why Workplace Culture as a Focus?
  • Little research has focused to date on culture/context in the work environment that creates an experience of real inclusion for people with disabilities
  • Need research on how a company’s “culture”—values, norms, policies, and practices—facilitate or hinder the inclusion and engagement of people with disabilities?

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disability as a diversity issue
Disability as a diversity issue
  • Attention to people with disabilities has been noticeably lacking from the diversity agenda
    • In research
    • In practice
  • Can extrapolate from more general diversity research to understand importance of inclusion, but also need research that explicitly focuses on people with disabilities
what is inclusion
What is Inclusion?
  • Recent rhetoric has switched from a focus on “diversity” to a focus on “inclusion”
  • What is the difference?
    • Diversity – focus on EEO compliance & representation; access discrimination
    • Inclusion – focus on how individuals experience the culture once they enter an organization; more subtle treatment discrimination
      • Do they have to assimilate in order to be accepted?
      • Are differences valued and seen as a source of learning?
      • Are people’s diverse ideas actively sought AND utilized to improve organizational decision-making and functioning?
      • Is the value of an idea judged based on its quality or based on who offers the idea?
what we know from past research on diversity the importance of inclusion
What we know from past research on diversityThe importance of inclusion
  • Research suggests that the major disadvantages associated with increased diversity can be:
    • Stereotyping and group polarization based on demographic differences
    • Increased work group conflict and tension
    • As a result of these experiences, people report being less satisfied and more likely to turnover
  • However, these negative effects are greatly reduced in inclusive contexts
    • When the climate is inclusive
    • When managers are inclusive in the way that they treat their subordinates
what we know from past research on diversity elements of an inclusive climate
What we know from past research on diversityElements of an inclusive climate
  • Equity (of employment practices)
    • Extent to which organization’s HR practices ensure a fair and level playing field for all employees
      • “The employment/HR practices of this organization are fairly implemented.”
  • Openness (of work environment to differences)
    • Extent to which employees can be authentic and still accepted (vs having to construct public representations)
      • “This organization is characterized by a non-threatening environment in which people can reveal their “true” selves.”
  • Inclusion (in decision making)
    • Extent to which the organization actively seeks and utilizes the full participation of employees
      • “Employees are encouraged to challenge “status quo” thinking as a means of stimulating organizational improvement.”
what we know from past research on diversity why inclusive climates matter
What we know from past research on diversityWhy inclusive climates matter
  • People who experience the climate to be inclusive report higher levels of:
    • organizational commitment
    • Satisfaction
    • Feeling supported by the organization, feeling they can count on the organization
    • Willingness to engage in citizenship behaviors
  • Diverse groups with more inclusive climates:
    • Experience lower levels of conflict
    • Whatever conflict is experienced increases satisfaction rather than decreases it!
what we know from past research on diversity managers behaviors influence inclusive climates
What we know from past research on diversityManagers’ behaviors influence inclusive climates

Managers who create inclusive climates also:

  • Treat employees with respect and dignity
  • Are sensitive to people’s personal needs
  • Are transparent about how decisions are made
  • Are careful about collecting accurate information when making decisions so as to reduce biases
  • Are concerned about the fairness of people’s outcomes (opportunities, pay, scheduling, etc.)
  • Are careful about doing what they say
  • Are flexible
  • Promote cooperation and highlight the value of people’s diverse backgrounds
what we know from past research on diversity inclusion in managers ingroups
What we know from past research on diversityInclusion in managers’ ingroups

Assessing inclusion in a manager’s “ingroup”:

  • I usually know how satisfied my managers is with what I do.
  • I feel that my manager understands my problems and needs.
  • I feel that my manager recognizes my potential.
  • If necessary, my manager would use his or her power and influence to help me.
  • I can count on my manager to support me even when I’m in a tough situation at work.
  • I would support my manager’s decisions even if he or she was not present.
  • I have an effective working relationship with my manager.
what we know from past research on diversity inclusion in managers ingroups26
What we know from past research on diversityInclusion in managers’ ingroups
  • Employees who are in their managers’ ingroup enjoy many benefits
    • Better access to resources, opportunities, responsibilities
    • Higher commitment, satisfaction, engagement
    • Lower levels of harassment from coworkers
  • Why?
    • Employees in managers’ ingroup are conferred “high status”
  • The overall pattern of inclusion in a manager’s ingroup matters for group dynamics:
    • When managers develop high-quality relationships with some subordinates but not others, feelings or resentment and exclusion hamper cooperation, cohesion, and harmony, and increase turnover
other aspects of the workplace environment culture that matter
Other aspects of the Workplace Environment/Culture that matter
  • Perceptions of Human Resource (HR) Practices
    • Perceived fairness of work arrangements and HR practices for individual employees
    • Distributive, Procedural, and Interactional justice
  • Perceptions of climate
    • Climate for Inclusion
    • Discrimination against members of specific identity groups (people with disabilities, racial minorities, aging workers, women, etc.)
  • Perceptions of Managers
    • Managerial diversity behaviors
    • Quality of relationship with manager
  • Perceptions of one’s relationship with the organization & job
    • Perceived organizational support
    • Perceived “fit” between one’s values/skills and those of one’s group/job
    • Psychological empowerment enjoyed on the job
    • Conflict with/among coworkers
experiences of workplace environment culture
Experiences of Workplace Environment/Culture
  • Unfortunately, past research indicates people’s perceptions of these aspects of the workplace environment differ significantly based on demographic background (e.g., race, gender, hierarchical position, tenure, and sometimes age)
  • Perceptions of the work environment matter because they predict:
    • Commitment
    • Job satisfaction
    • Turnover
    • Willingness to engage in citizenship behaviors
future research needs
Future Research Needs
  • Very little of the diversity literature has focused specifically on people with disabilities
  • Need research that focuses on the way in which people with disabilities experience their work environment, culture/climate, leadership, etc.
    • This is the focus of our ongoing research
forthcoming research
Forthcoming Research
  • Funded by USDOL Office of Disability and Employment Policy to Syracuse U. (Grant No. #E-9-4-6-0107)
  • A consortium of six universities/orgs. (Syracuse, Rutgers, Cornell, Georgia Institute of Technology, West Virginia University, and Human Futures Inc.)
  • Each entity conducted a common survey and also conducted focus groups and interviews in one org.
  • Further information coming in 2009.

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resources for future reference
Resources for Future Reference
  • Further information about this study –
  • Cornell brochures on workplace accommodations, HR policies and practices – www.hrtips.org
  • Cornell state and national disability statistics –

www.disabilitystatistics.org

  • Cornell University ILR School and EDI –
    • www.ilr.cornell.edu; www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi

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