In anticipation of Global Accessibility Awareness Day this Thursday, May 18, the University of Phoenix has shared insights from a survey on workplace accommodations. The University of Phoenix commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct a study of more than 500 human resource (HR) professionals to better understand workplace practices and approaches to employees with disabilities, resources and accommodations, and the role of HR professionals in the accommodation process.
“At University of Phoenix, we are very focused on working adult learners and preparing our students with disabilities to self-advocate in both their learning environment, and in their careers,” said Kelly Hermann, vice president of accessibility, equity and inclusion. “We activated this survey so that we could look at accessibility through the HR lens to learn how to help our students understand accessibility in the workplace, how to request accommodations as an employee, and how to build social capital as a disabled employee.”
According to the 2023 Career Optimism Index® study by the University of Phoenix Career Institute®, 47% of Americans are experiencing burnout at work and half of those individuals report that it has worsened in the past year. Certain mental health issues are categorized as disabilities, and this new survey also looks at how the workplace is managing employee mental health needs and accommodation requests. The survey findings illustrate the need for employers to understand how to support employees with disabilities through strategies that focus on awareness, workplace community, and mental health.
“Companies that offer consistent resources and have open conversations about their diversity and inclusion efforts set everyone involved up for success,” said Julie Fink, vice president of human resources. “It’s also important to understand that it’s not just about what companies provide, although that’s certainly important. Employees need to take opportunities to network with one another and to understand the support systems in place. Creating inclusive environments requires a partnership between employees and employers, and it works best when both parties work together to make sure that opportunities are equitable for all.”
The survey found that 94% of companies have programs, activities, or initiatives in place to hire, train, and/or retain employees with disabilities. Eighty-six percent of respondents said insurance is the most common resource or accommodation that a company offers to employees with disabilities to help address their needs, including health insurance (72%), long-term disability insurance (61%), and short-term disability insurance (60%). Around 3 in 5 say that their company offers flexible scheduling (61%) and employee assistance programs (59%), while 49% say their company offers remote work to help address the needs of their employees with disabilities.
Around 60% of companies offer flexible scheduling and employee assistance programs, while almost half offer remote work to help address the needs of their employees with disabilities.
According to the survey, although 86% of HR professionals say insurance is a common resource offered by their company to specifically address the mental health needs of their employees, more direct services such as workshops and professional development (38%), partnerships with local or national providers for free or discounted mental health services (38%), employee resource groups (ERGs) (33%), and onsite counseling services (30%) – are less often offered. More than 2 in 5 companies offer flexible scheduling (64%) and approved leave outside of PTO benefits (53%) to employees seeking accommodations for their mental health needs.