Engaging employees to measure success: Innovative approaches to encouraging self-identification of disability

14 Feb 2020

A new guide from the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN), a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, provides strategies that employers can use to encourage employees with disabilities to self-identify. This guide offers ideas for how to counter barriers to self-identification of disability and provides innovative approaches businesses have used to increase self-identification rates.

Today, more businesses are recognizing the value of a workforce inclusive of people with disabilities and using innovative strategies to bring them on board. This includes voluntarily taking proactive steps to employ qualified people with disabilities.

In the U.S., some companies are required to do so. Under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, Federal Government contractors with contracts over a certain amount must take proactive steps to recruit, hire, retain, and advance people with disabilities.

In either situation, the primary method for measuring progress is to invite applicants and employees to self-identify as having a disability. A new guide, Engaging Employees to Measure Success: Innovative Approaches to Encouraging Self-Identification of Disability, offers strategies employers can use to encourage employees with disabilities to self-identify, whether they’re doing so for voluntary or required affirmative action purposes. Specifically, the guide provides ideas for how to counter what research shows to be the main barriers to self-identification. It also includes examples of innovative approaches businesses have used to increase self-identification rates.

Developed by the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion, a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), in collaboration with ODEP’s Alliance partner, the National Industry Liaison Group, this new guide is a valuable resource for businesses of all sizes interested in assessing their progress toward disability inclusion goals.

Self-identification is about more than reaching certain numbers, however. Done right, the act of inviting applicants and employees to self-identify helps convey that a company intends to not just express a commitment to an inclusive workforce, but also deliver on it.

To access the guide, visit AskEARN.org/self-ID.