Citrix VP on how disability inclusion transcends medical insurance


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Cloud computing company Citrix Systems secured a spot on Disability:IN’s 2022 Disability Equality Index, joined by other HR heavy hitters like Indeed, Deloitte, LinkedIn and UKG. Beyond its worker resource group for staff with disabilities, an event series and anti-ableism training sessions, Citrix told HR Dive the corporate also shows up for this community through its Mental Health First Aiders program.

Citrix employees study self-care, how you can catch early symptoms of mental health issues and best practices for guiding co-workers toward skilled support. The software company’s approach supports Disability:IN’s observations about neurodiversity at work; mainly, that the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic opened up a greater dialogue about well-being.

“During COVID-19, non-disabled staff gained awareness of how unusual work interactions can tax their physical well-being and mental health, highlighting the ways traditional working conditions have perpetuated inequity for individuals with disabilities for a long time,” Disability:IN researchers wrote within the report. “Firms now recognize broader wellness initiatives as a type of disability affirmation and inclusion and are implementing programs to make the workplace healthier, more balanced, and more accessible.”

Citrix’s VP of Diversity, Belonging and Giving, Scott Ballina, has been with Citrix every year of its Disability:IN rating. Ballina told HR Dive that ERGs aren’t only a approach to retain employees, but to draw them as well. (Amongst the businesses surveyed by the inclusion collective, 88% reported an officially recognized, disability-focused resource or affinity group.)

“When employees see people who find themselves like them in leadership positions, they’ve more confidence that they, too, can grow of their profession. The more inclusion you exhibit, the more inclusion you get,” Ballina said in an email. In some ways, cultivating a sturdy community of marginalized folks inside a corporation is its own type of positive messaging.

Beyond adopting diverse hiring practices, Ballina encouraged HR professionals to defer to employees with disabilities. “Take heed to their needs. Take heed to the barriers to success that they’re experiencing,” he said. “Take heed to the experts in the sector — like Disability:IN — to allow you to develop strategies.”

A profit that, in keeping with HR experts, increasingly advantages all: 96% of firms surveyed for the index said they provide flexible work options. And of the 415 firms participating within the survey, 84% said they supply wellness advantages beyond an worker assistance program, therapy and counseling. Researchers noted the inclusion of monetary planning, fitness, nutrition and sleep programs inside lots of these advantages packages. 

Initiatives reminiscent of these — encouraging hybrid work and offering what Disability:IN calls wraparound human services — are considered “foundational practices.” These lay the groundwork for talent with disabilities to feel welcome of their workplace.


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