Ingersoll Rand’s efforts to create a more inclusive environment for employees and suppliers with disabilities got a shot of adrenaline when the company signed a partnership agreement with the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN), a non-profit U.S. organization that offers a variety of resources to help businesses drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion.
This agreement pairs perfectly with Ingersoll Rand’s near-term plans to start an employee resource group for people with disabilities, to add them as a category to the USBLN’s database of diverse suppliers, and to comply with new, stronger federal legislation.
The U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) offers a wealth of resources to help businesses drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion. These include programs about relevant topics, such as changes in the law; roundtable and networking sessions; mentoring opportunities with students with disabilities; a presence at the group’s annual conference in late September and permission to use the organization’s logo. The USBLN’s Disability Supplier Diversity Program offers access to its database of certified businesses owned by disabled people or veterans.
“They are the premier organization to partner with,” said Neddy Perez, vice president of global diversity and inclusion. Unemployment figures for people with disabilities have always been high. In the U.S, only 33.5 percent of non-institutionalized people with a disability, age 21 to 64, were employed in 2012.
Support for Current Employees
Ingersoll Rand is preparing to launch Enabling, a new Employee Resource Group to support employees with disabilities. Accommodating their needs is not expensive, on average costing only about $500 for a different chair, or adapter for a phone. Showing support for employees with disabilities can also lessen a perceived stigma for other employees about disclosing a disability and encourage all employees to focus on their health.
Attracting More Suppliers and Employees
The USBLN’s Disability Supplier Diversity Program offers access to its database of certified businesses owned by disabled people or veterans. Ingersoll Rand is in the process of adding the category of “disabled” supplier to its Supplier Diversity Program, said Jackie LaJoie, supplier diversity manager. Presently, the supplier diversity program includes suppliers who are minorities, women and veterans. The USBLN database of certified suppliers with disabilities will help those efforts, as will Jackie’s presence on the group’s Supplier Diversity Council.
The company will also be enhancing its hiring processes to meet new U.S. legislation mandating a hiring percentage of 7 percent people with disabilities, said Neddy. This legislation strengthened two important laws: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). It was prompted by the increased number of veterans with disabilities seeking jobs.