July 30, 2015
years organizations seeking a competitive advantage have embraced diversity;
but today the leading enterprises have found a new source of growth–people with
disabilities. The global market represents 1.3 billion people and their 2.3
billion family members, friends, caregivers and colleagues; aggregately people
with disabilities account for an astounding $8 trillion dollars in disposable
leaders have also found that people with disabilities build a more authentic,
loyal and creative culture. People with disabilities also represent an almost
untapped talent pool who bring a wide range of education, experience, expertise
and perspective to the workforce. Updated federal regulations are pushing
employers to actively include this talented section of the workforce in their
ranks, but savvy employers are getting ahead of the curve.
I became more aware of the economic, employment and societal impact of people
with disabilities – roughly 20% of our country’s population – I asked business
leaders and disability experts about this emerging and growing market and the
positive impact for business.
Sr. Vice President, Field Sales, PepsiCo North America Beverages and an
executive champion of Pepsi ACT – Achieving Change Together – a national
disability hiring and inclusion initiative in partnership with corporate
disability consulting team Disability Solutions @Ability Beyond.
Chief Human Resource Officer, American Express, an organization that has been a
long time leader in diversity and a company that recognizes people with
disabilities as a large constituency of their customer-base, and a valuable
part of their workforce.
Managing Director, Disability Solutions @Ability Beyond, a consulting practice
that leverages their organization’s 60 years of working with people with a wide
variety of disabilities, and now work with corporations to attract, retain and
engage talent who happen to have a disability.
Donovan, CEO, The Return on Disability
Group, globally recognized subject matter experts on the convergence of
disability and corporate profitability, focused on defining and unlocking the
economic value of the disability market. Rich launched the world’s first stock
index focused on the disability market with Barclays in September 2014. The
Return on Disability US LargeCap ETN is listed under the ticker RODI on the
Robert Reiss: Why does your organization focus on people with
Marty Bean: We recognized early the talent that is represented among
people with disabilities and have focused our efforts on tapping into that
talent for our workforce needs across the country. We created Pepsi ACT in 2013.
It is a national multi-year project that has significantly increased the number
of people with disabilities that are employed across a variety of career and
experience levels. It has launched in five U.S. cities to date and each
location has successfully employed people with disabilities, including
veterans. We will continue to expand across PepsiCo North America Beverages in
2015 and see this not as a way to hire people with disabilities, but hiring the
right people for the job. In fact, at our Las Vegas Certified Center half of
our employees have disabilities. It is a high-performing environment and a
model for efficiency and productivity. We hired the right people to get the job
Kevin Cox: This is the next frontier from both a brand and workforce
perspective. Ensuring that people with disabilities see themselves and their
needs reflected in our products and the services we offer is important. It’s
important to our customers, as well as to our workforce. We employ many people
with disabilities currently and have employees with family members or friends
with disabilities. This is important to them, so it’s important to us as an
employer. For example, this past year we have placed focus on expanding the
dialogue and education around mental health. We have recently engaged Kris Foss
and her team at Disability Solutions to work with our HR organization, to make
sure we are modeling the way for the entire American Express organization in
the recruitment, retention and promotion of people with disabilities.
Kris Foss: There are several opportunities here for corporations and
the time is now to lead in this space. PepsiCo and American Express are leading
the way and as early market champions will realize maximum returns in both
talent and market reach.