Redefining Disabilities in the Workplace

by bcbsm

| 2 min read

Co-workers having a conversation
In 2017, BCBSM scored 100 percent on the Disability Equality Index (DEI); a true testament to its diversity and inclusion efforts for differently-abled people in the workplace. The DEI is a partnership between the American Association of People with Disabilities and the US Business Leadership Network that ranks companies based on their adherence to many leading disability inclusion practices. Some of these practices include: culture and leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices, community engagement and support services, and supplier diversity. To uphold these standards, Blue Cross implements various best practices and programs, like the BrightBlue diversity awareness experience, and puts a focus on improving IT capabilities and functionality. “We want to emphasize a person’s ability, rather than his or her disability,” says Bridget Hurd, senior director, Diversity & Inclusion at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Diversity is more than recognizing race and gender, it is recognizing that each individual perceives and experiences life differently. This facilitates a greater understanding among us and helps us to open our minds to new perspectives.”
“Diversity is more than recognizing race and gender, it is recognizing that each individual perceives and experiences life differently."
It is not always easy to see things from a new perspective, but the BrightBlue diversity awareness program gives employees a hands-on opportunity to understand what differently-abled individuals experience on six different levels. This workshop has two activities dedicated to learning differences, and four others focused on vision, gross motor, fine motor and hearing impairments. Participants will experience what it is like to walk in the shoes of a co-worker living with a disability and some of the associated challenges. Employees will also learn how to ask the right questions to get a better understanding of their co-workers' needs and abilities. In addition to the BrightBlue diversity awareness experience, Blue Cross has 10 different employee resource networks for veterans, the LGBTQ community and more, in an effort to provide support and further inclusivity in its offices. Blue Cross strives to do more and to do it differently; diversity and inclusion make that possible. For more information on Blue Cross’ diversity and inclusion efforts, check out:
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MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association