Disability:IN, in collaboration with the American Association of People with Disabilities, recently released the 2022 Disability Equality Index at the organization’s 2022 Global Conference in Dallas, which took place July 18 to 21.
A record 415 companies participated in this year’s DEI, a 30% increase from the 319 companies in 2021. Of those, 335 earned a score of 80 or higher, including 20 headquartered in the Garden State.
Some companies that have a presence in New Jersey, such as Caesars Entertainment which earned a 100, were also featured. See the complete list here.
Any company that scored lower than 80 was not revealed publicly, a representative told NJBIZ.
According to Disability:IN, the index is the most comprehensive benchmarking tool for measuring disability inclusion in business. It measures performance against categories including culture and leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices, community engagement, supplier diversity, and non-U.S. operations.
The 2022 index found that more companies are employing people with disabilities in leadership roles than last year (126 vs. 99), and many are trying to make their boards of directors more inclusive, as well.
Of the participating DEI companies:
- 96% offer flexible work options
- 60% have external disability hiring goals
- 50% are investing in innovative technology to advance digital accessibility
“Disability inclusion is the new frontier of ESG investing and corporate social responsibility. To prepare for the future and create sustainable businesses, companies must engage their stakeholders with disabilities and weave disability inclusion into everything they do,” Ted Kennedy Jr., co-chair of the DEI and AAPD board member, said in a statement. “We commend the companies that are taking demonstrated, actionable steps to unlock opportunities for people with disabilities at all levels of a company, including in boardroom roles.”
Jill Houghton, president and CEO of Disability:IN, added that the worker shortage is requiring companies “to rethink how they hire, develop and cultivate talent.”
NJ-headquartered companies on the DEI and their score
“Disability inclusion is now a business imperative,” Houghton added. “The Disability Equality Index helps companies identify and incorporate the modern practices that are essential to disability inclusion, equality and belonging. These companies are positioned to win the talent war, strengthen diversity, improve profitability and shareholder returns, and achieve sustainable growth.”
New Jersey company comments
Camden-based American Water was recognized as top-scoring company for the fourth consecutive year, earning a score of 100.
“American Water values and promotes diversity in its workforce,” President and CEO Susan Hardwick said in a July 20 statement. “In 2021 we launched our American Water Abled employee resource group, which advocates for employees with all types of disabilities – visible and invisible – and for caregivers and their allies to lead and excel both personally and professionally. We are proud to again be recognized for our continued commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and as an ally to those with different abilities.”
BD, headquartered in Franklin Lakes, was recognized for the fourth consecutive year, earning a 100.
“We welcome and empower people with differing perspectives and approaches to innovation and problem-solving and create an environment that allows them to speak up, contribute fully and be equitably rewarded for their contributions” Nicole Thompson, vice president of HR – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Engagement at BD, said in a July 20 statement. “Our collaboration with Disability:IN is critical in helping us accomplish our goals. We are honored to receive this award as a reflection of the work we have done to increase our score from 90 to 100, and the progress we continue to make in creating a healthy and impact-driven company powered by associates with diverse abilities.”
Conduent Inc., based in Florham Park, was one of this year’s newcomers on the index. The business process outsourcing company, which scored a 90, issued a statement July 21 highlighting its DisAbility Impact Group, which “empowers associates, raises awareness, builds community and fosters collaboration through company-wide activities.”
“Conduent is committed to a strong, inclusive culture and by participating in the DEI we are able to benchmark our progress and continue to improve inclusion for all associates,” Walter Frye, the company’s global head of Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility, said in the announcement. “This award acknowledges the teamwork of leaders, our DisAbility Impact Group, and associates across the company who strive to improve policies and practices for an accessible and inclusive workplace for all.”
TD Bank, headquartered in Cherry Hill, scored a 100 on the index for the eighth consecutive year, the company said in July 21 statement.
“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in advancing disability inclusion across the bank,” Chris Giamo TD’s head of Commercial Bank for North America, said in a statement. Giamo also serves as TD’s management committee executive sponsor for Individuals with Diverse Abilities.
“Creating a more inclusive tomorrow for everyone is a commitment we embrace every day at TD, one that reflects the enormous passion our colleagues have in enriching lives and investing in the communities where we live and work,” Giamo added.