July 20, 2016
Fortune 500 companies lead 2016 DEI: Top scoring companies see value in participating in the survey

Washington, D.C. (July 13, 2016) – Today, the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) announce the results of the 2016 Disability Equality Index® (DEI®) survey. A comprehensive list of DEI top scoring companies deemed “2016 DEI Best Places to Work” can be found on the DEI website.

The DEI was completed by 83 Fortune 1000-size companies, two-thirds of these companies top the Fortune 500 list. 23 business segments were represented and the industries that had the highest number of participants include: aerospace and defense, energy and utilities, financial services, healthcare, insurance, pharmaceuticals, professional services, retail and telecommunications.

42 of these companies received 100 out of 100 on the survey, which recognizes a broad range of workplace, supply chain and marketplace activities. 16 companies scored 90 out of 100 on the survey and 11 companies received an 80 out of 100. Many of the 83 companies participated in last year’s survey and approximately 97 percent either maintained or increased their score.

DEI points are awarded in four major categories: Culture & Leadership, Enterprise-wide Access, Employment Practices and Community Engagement & Support Services. Companies receive points in any given area by responding affirmatively to a significant portion of the numerous best practices outlined.

A few highlights from the 2016 DEI include:

  • In the inaugural DEI, 66 percent of surveyed companies had a disability-focused employee resource group (ERG), with 64 percent having an executive sponsor (vice president or higher). The 2016 DEI survey revealed an increase with 84 percent of participating companies with an ERG, and 81 percent reporting having an executive sponsor.
  • In the inaugural DEI, 75 percent of companies reported having members of their senior executive teams (within first two levels of the chief executive officer) who showed external support of disability inclusion, either through board or working group membership, or through public statements. The 2016 DEI survey shows an increase with 87 percent of companies reporting having members of their senior executive teams showing external support.

The survey gives companies an opportunity to reevaluate policies and practices and determine where the company stands in regards to being a best in class organization for disability inclusion practices.

“We are proud to see the year over year growth, improvement and results from participating companies,” said Jill Houghton, Executive Director, USBLN. “We know that policies alone don’t always translate into inclusion. The DEI provides a roadmap for advancing disability inclusion by enabling companies to see both strengths and areas of opportunity that exist across their organization, and provides a means to benchmark against their competitors and businesses as a whole. This is only the beginning of what’s to come as companies continue to embrace the DEI and work hard to take their disability inclusion policies and practices to the next level.”

“As we approach the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and celebrate our achievements, we also recommit ourselves to ensuring all Americans with disabilities are able to build vibrant futures for themselves and their families, and the DEI can help make that happen,” said Helena Berger, President and CEO of AAPD. “The DEI is an effective, non-punitive tool — as demonstrated by the many returning companies who maintained or increased their score — that builds a partnership between the disability and business communities to ultimately expand employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and embrace the talents and skills we bring to the workplace.”

Companies also shared what they like about the DEI survey. Here are a few responses:

  • “What I liked the most was that it keeps us proactive and focused on best practices.”
  • “What I like about the DEI is that the survey questions are comprehensive as they relate to all areas of the company.”
  • “Helps us think about things differently and in a holistic way.”
  • “Some of the questions were truly eye opening and challenged us to make some important changes.”
  • “Questions are thought provoking and cause you to examine/review policies and practices.”

By receiving a top score on the DEI, companies demonstrate significant business leadership, going far beyond compliance activities, driving their business success through leading disability inclusion policies and practices.

Registration for the 2017 DEI will open soon. Sign up on our mailing list to be notified when the registration window opens. To learn more about the DEI, view the DEI FAQs.

About the Disability Equality Index® (DEI®)

The DEI® is a joint initiative of the USBLN and AAPD. Developed by the DEI Advisory Committee, a diverse group of business leaders, policy experts, and disability advocates, the DEI is a national, transparent, annual benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to receive an objective assessment of their overall disability inclusion policies and practices. It is an aspirational, educational, recognition tool that goes far beyond legal compliance, helping companies identify opportunities for continued improvement, while building their reputations as organizations that value diversity and inclusion.

The DEI was first introduced in 2012 and piloted in 2013-2014 with 48 companies prior to the official go-live launch of the inaugural DEI in Fall 2014, which concluded in 2015.

About the US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®)

The US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®) is a national non-profit that helps business drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain, and marketplace. The USBLN serves as the collective voice of nearly 50 Business Leadership Network affiliates across the United States, representing more than 5,000 businesses. Additionally, the USBLN Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP) is the nation’s leading third party certification program for disability-owned businesses, including businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

About the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the 50+ million Americans with disabilities.


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