Unleashing our full abilities
We have a long history of focusing on abilities and fostering an environment in which talented people can do their best work. In fact, that history begins with our founder Arthur Young, who was deaf and had low vision, and it extends to include every individual who has helped build our business — regardless of physical, cognitive or mental abilities.
Our commitment to helping our people work more comfortably, efficiently and productively was exemplified when EY became the first of the Big Four firms to sign the Business Taskforce on Accessibilities Technology (BTAT) Charter on November 20, 2011. By doing so, accessibility has been embedded in our IT systems, confirming that the services and information we provide are usable by all our personnel.
We encourage dialogue among diverse people as a way to promote understanding and build our inclusive culture. This effort extends to internal forums for people who have differing abilities, have family or friends with differing abilities or who want to share ideas about improving our inclusive environment:
- EY AccessAbilitiesTM — This network provides guidance and raises awareness of workplace issues affecting people with differing abilities.
- Abilities Champion Network — Our local and functional group representatives weave abilities-awareness messages and educational materials into local communications, meetings and events.
- Network for Parents of Children with Special Health Care Needs — Our employee assistance program sponsors this network, which holds confidential monthly network calls as well as calls for condition-specific groups.
- Caregivers Circle — This network supports EY people who are helping care for adults such as parents, adult children or spouses who have health issues and/or differing abilities.
Educating our people
We provide resources focusing on abilities-friendly etiquette, language and work habits:
- How to plan accessible, inclusive events for people of all abilities — suggestions to help you plan a truly inclusive event
- Are you prepared? — a poster emphasizing the importance of being educated about abilities inclusive etiquette and language
- Communicating effectively with people who are deaf or hard of hearing — tips to enhance your communication strategy
- Conference call etiquette — tips for making conference calls more productive for everyone, especially people who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Four ways to be inclusive — tips to be respectful of people with differing abilities
- Getting support, supporting others: a handbook for working with non-visible disabilities — a document that explains the accommodations process and helps people think through some of the challenges around the disclosure of non-visible disabilities
- Is it okay? — etiquette for interacting with people with differing abilities
- Looking for a disabilities-friendly workplace? — a checklist of leading practices to look for in potential employers
- Nine things not to say to someone with a chronic condition or illness — messages that can be hurtful and should be avoided
- Six things to say to someone with a chronic condition or illness — tips on how to be supportive and respectful
- You don't say — a quick guide to appropriate language for use in conversing with or referring to people with disabilities
Leading the marketplace
We seek to be at the forefront of emerging issues. Some of our achievements include:
- Becoming the first founding sponsor of the US Business Leadership Network’s Disabilities-Owned Business Enterprise Certification Program
- Supporting the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities and its parent organization, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families
- Sponsoring the Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities national conference and recruiting events
- Serving on the US Business Leadership Network’s Board of Directors, participating in the US Department of Labor’s Circle of Champions, and serving on the Advisory Board for the American Association of People with Disabilities/US Business Leadership Network Disability Equality Index
- Sponsoring the first Learning Disabilities in the Workplace Forum