University of Phoenix Shares Survey Findings on Accessibility in the Workplace Ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day

University of Phoenix is pleased to share insights from a survey on workplace accommodations in anticipation of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. University of Phoenix is committed to enhancing the accessibility and experience of learners with disabilities, and as a higher education institution focused on serving working adults, 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 human resource 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”

“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,” shares 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.”

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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,” states 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 HR professionals say their company has programs, activities, or initiatives in place to hire, train, and/or retain employees with disabilities. Eighty-six percent of HR professionals say 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% of HR professionals say their company offers 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. Still, more than 2 in 5 HR professionals say their company offers flexible scheduling (64%) and approved leave outside of PTO benefits (53%) to employees seeking accommodations for their mental health needs.

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The research was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of the University of Phoenix among 504 adults ages 18 or older, currently employed full-time or part-time, works for a company with more than one employee, and currently works in the human resources function at their company. The survey was conducted April 4 – 14, 2023.

Data are weighted where necessary by number of employees to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within ± 5.2 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest.

Hermann has oversight of the university’s accessibility initiative, including the evaluation and remediation of curricular resources, the Accessibility & Disability Services office, which provides accommodations to students with disabilities, and the Office of Educational Equity, which works with University stakeholders, community partners and corporate sponsors to create an inclusive educational environment for the students, faculty and staff. She shared survey insights during a virtual media tour on May 9, speaking with more than 20 media outlets across the U.S.

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