Understanding Employee Experience of PWD

The Problem

Organizations lack the information needed to maximize the engagement and productivity of employees with disabilities. This information is required to extend design and actions to improve overall workplace productivity.

External studies show that PWD account for 20-30% of the workforce. However, internal disclosure numbers of large organizations are frequently in the low single digits. This results in workplace experiences that fail to maximize the contributions of approximately a quarter of a given workforce, leading to material losses of engagement, retention and productivity.

By understanding the demographics and experience of PWD in an organization relative to their non-disabled peers, organizations can both improve the engagement of PWD employees while learning from their experience to improve productivity and engagement throughout an organization.

Accurately capturing the number of PWD in an organization

Benchmarking PWD workplace experience compared to peers without disabilities

Identifying common pain points for PWD at the organization

Identifying opportunities to leverage accommodation practices to improve productivity throughout the organization

What We Delivered

To address these issues, RoDG conducted a series of focus groups with PWD employees, as well as a custom-survey, across business operations. Focus group discussions were deliberately open-ended, to capture wide-ranging insights. Study participants varied substantially in how long they had worked at the organization, allowing RoDG analysts to probe on organizational changes over time. RoDG then used these focus group findings to construct a custom survey that was distributed to ~800 employees. This allowed RoDG to quantify focus group findings and identify key trends.

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Organizational Context

In-depth focus groups with employees across business units and organizational roles

Feedback on Current State

Custom survey, based on qualitative findings, distributed across the organization

Understanding the Big Small Things

Synthesis of qualitative and quantitative findings – not just “what” but “why” and “where”

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Improvements in the Workplace

Identification of opportunities to improve overall productivity by learning from PWD experience


PWD consistently indicate poorer workplace experiences than their peers without disabilities. There are multiple opportunities to eliminate this gap while improving engagement and productivity for the entire workforce.

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Surprise Statistics

There were at least 5x the amount of PWD at this organization than had previously disclosed.

High Talent, Low Morale

PWD consistently reported lower job satisfaction than peers without disabilities.

Outstanding, Not Standing Out

Some PWD do not request accommodations for fear of potential negative career ramifications.

Access to Achievements

Large numbers of employees without disabilities self-report that they would be more productive if given access to accommodations.