Ability to mainstream disability

IBM, SFR, Sodexo, Dell and Renault were announced to be the 2013 European Disability Matters honourees. The announcement was made in the run-up to the Disability Matter Award which annually honours forward-thinking companies committed to successfully mainstreaming disability in the areas of marketplace, workforce and workplace. This year’s winners will be honoured at the Second Annual European Disability Matters Conference & Awards to be held on June 12th & 13th 2013 at Accenture’s offices in Paris. Since the disability segment is said to be the largest and fastest growing minority in the world, meeting the needs of this segment – including those who have dependents with special needs – through workforce, workplace and marketplace initiatives is no longer just a strategic advantage, but a business imperative. This is even more true in light of the some recent legislative changes in Europe.
At the conference, corporate presenters along with experts from governments, academia and non-governmental organizations sectors will be sharing their experience on how to support and market to this large and loyal segment of the population. Innovative programs result in successful outreach, recruitment, support and retention of candidates, employees and/or customers who have a disability. This year the marketplace awards go to IBM and SFR, the workforce award goes to Sodexo, and the workplace awards go to Dell and Renault.
Disability, however, has not yet been recognised as a core work area for many international companies in Europe. An analysis by European Diversity Research & Consulting that evaluated organisational aspects of Diversity Management found that only seven out of the 31 companies analysed had a subject matter expert on disability. On the other hand, 5 organisations indicated that one D&I staff had some form of disability him- or herself. The low findings were somehow balanced by an analysis of Corporate Annual Reports and CSR Reports of the EuroStoxx 50: Disability was in the upper half of communicated topics in these publications.
The Disability Matters conference is co-organised by Springboard Consulting (US) and the French Association of Diversity Managers (AFMD), sponsored by ADECCO Group, Orange and Ingersoll Rand.