The 2021 DEI benchmark measured six categories: culture and leadership; enterprise-wide access; employment practices (benefits, recruitment, employment, education, retention and advancement, and accommodations); community engagement; supplier diversity; and non-U.S. operations (non-weighted). Questions within the index included content such as:
- Does your business have an officially recognized disability-focused employee resource group or affinity group?
- Does your business have a company-wide written statement of commitment to diversity and inclusion?
- During the period 1/1/20 – 12/31/20, did your business provide philanthropic support to an external disability related event or organization?
As a leader of ChemABLE, Chemonics’ disability inclusion focused employee resource group, Suzanne Alfaro served as point person in completing the DEI questionnaire for 2019 and 2020. This occurred with support from stakeholders within the company.
“In 2020, we made strides in the areas of enterprise-wide access, employment, education, retention and advancement, accommodations, and community engagement,” Alfaro said. “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, for example, we continued our partnership with Gallaudet University and their Master’s in International Development Program, where we engaged six students in a combination of internships and practicums around the company.”
“Another example is that between 2019 and 2020, we developed our Reasonable Accommodations Procedure and related guidance, and it’s available for our employees,” she said.
Alfaro said that collaborating with Disability:IN to provide training for staff also contributed to Chemonics’ DEI score.
DEI will continue to raise the bar by weighting existing questions and adding new ones. Each time Chemonics participates in DEI, it will be able to benchmark performance year over year, gaining concrete insight into opportunities for improvement and areas of success.
“Part of corporate commitment to disability inclusion is recognizing your stance and using it as an ‘aha moment’ to drive the business investments needed to scale change,” said Jill Houghton, president and chief executive officer of Disability:IN. “Inclusion and accessibility cuts across the enterprise, from cultural representation in the workforce, to technology acceleration, to incorporating supply chain diversity. These are tangible opportunities that leading companies can leverage to create sustainable impact for their business and brand.”
The DEI was launched in 2015 by Disability:IN and The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and is acknowledged today as the most robust disability inclusion assessment tool in business. Learn more about the Disability Equality Index at http://www.disabilityequalityindex.org.