october 22nd–23rd, 2013 | washington, d.c.

Innovative Research on Employer Practices:
Improving Employment for People with Disabilities

A state of the science conference from the Rehabilitation and Research Training Center on Employer Practices Related to Employment Outcomes among Individuals with Disabilities. This two-day event highlighted the research findings from the Employer Practices Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at Cornell University ILR School's Yang-Tan Institute. It was a great success! Check back for reports and proceedings of the conference.

Inside the Workplace: Case Studies of Factors Influencing Engagement of People with Disabilities

Bio Sketches

Lisa Hisae Nishii Photo

Lisa Nishii, Ph.D., joined the faculty of the Human Resource Studies department at the ILR School, Cornell University, after receiving her Ph.D. and M.A. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Maryland, and a B.A in economics and psychology from Wellesley College. Nishii's most active body of research focuses on diversity and inclusion, particularly in global organizations. She has been working most recently on multi-level research funded by the SHRM Foundation, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Education, in which she is examining the benefits of inclusive climates for diverse groups and for the individuals working within them. Her research suggests that the "value in diversity" only emerges in inclusive environments, in which subgroup disparities are minimized and there are strong norms for people to cultivate cross-boundary relationships. In her ongoing projects, she is examining the influence of organizational practices and leadership behaviors in shaping the inclusiveness of unit climates, and is also exploring how people's social networks develop differently in inclusive workgroup climates. In related work, she is researching the reasons for and effects of "decoupling" between intended diversity practices and the everyday implementation of those practices. Most recently, she has begun partnering with large, global corporations in an effort to merge her research on inclusion with her expertise in cross-cultural psychology to understand how inclusion may be defined and enacted differently across cultures. Nishii actively publishes in top-tier management journals, including the Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Personnel Psychology. Four of her papers have received international "best paper" recognition. She serves on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Organizational Psychology Review, and Equal Opportunities International. She is currently serving a 3-year term on the executive committee of the Academy of Management's Gender and Diversity in Organizations Division. Nishii is also passionate about her teaching, and is the only professor in the ILR School to have won two teaching awards as an assistant professor, and is the first to have won a university-wide teaching and advising award. Nishii enjoys working with organizations to help them to assess the inclusiveness of their workplace and to identify mechanisms for enhancing inclusion and its benefits.

Susanne Bruyere Photo

Susanne Bruyère, Ph.D., CRC, is Associate Dean of Outreach in the Cornell University ILR School and Director of the Yang-Tan Institute. As Associate Dean of Outreach, Susanne contributes to the development of the School's vision and mission, as well as to the strategic, programmatic, and administrative priorities for the School. She is also responsible for leading the public relations, communications, and marketing functions of the School, promoting visibility for the School's outreach activities and proactively seeking new clients and new external sources of funding for the outreach and research activities of the School. As Director of the Yang-Tan Institute, she is responsible for the strategic and financial direction of a multi- million dollar research, training, technical assistance, and information dissemination organization devoted to improving employment outcomes and inclusive communities for people with disabilities. Professor Bruyere is also currently Project Director and a Co-Principal Investigator of numerous research efforts focused on employment disability nondiscrimination and disability employment policy, funded by numerous federal agencies. Dr. Bruyere is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association, the current Chairperson of the Global Applied Disability Research and Information Network (GLADNET) and CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities), and Past President of the Division (22) of Rehabilitation Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA), the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE), and the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA).

Jennifer Bustamante's Photo

Jennifer Bustamante, Ph.D., is a Senior Researcher within The Conference Board's (TCB) Human Capital Practice. With over a decade of experience in the field of organizational behavior, she leads research efforts in the areas of diversity and inclusion, workforce demographics, employee engagement, leadership development, and talent management. Jennifer also serves as the lead researcher from TCB for the joint partnership with Deloitte Consulting and Sirota to build a research community of practice, The Engagement InstituteTM. Prior to joining TCB, Jennifer worked as a bilingual change management consultant at Gallup where she partnered with global clients to drive enterprise-wide improvements in both employee and customer engagement. She also served as an Associate Research Director at the Corporate Executive Board (CEB). While at CEB, Jennifer designed and led a variety of quantitative and qualitative studies aimed at both exploring key human resource (HR) challenges and identifying empirically-tested solutions to solve these challenges. Additionally, Jennifer has taught HR and I/O psychology courses at Barnard, Hunter, and LIM Colleges, and she was recently published in Human Resource Development Quarterly and Human Resource Development International journals. Jennifer holds both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, where she received an academic distinction for her dissertation research exploring the roles of demographic diversity, social capital, and diversity climate on organizational outcomes. She also received a dual bachelor's degree in Psychology and Spanish Literature from Dartmouth College.

Dan Ellerman's Photo

Dan Ellerman is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Northrop Grumman Technical Services. In this position, Dan is responsible for creating and implementing Diversity and Inclusion strategies and programming to increase employee engagement which include Employee Resource Groups, Diversity and Inclusion Councils, and D&I educational curriculums. In Dan's most recent position he served as the HR Business Partner Manager, supporting the Vice President of Manufacturing, providing a wide range of HR, engagement, D&I, and change management strategies. Dan has extensive experience and knowledge leading D&I initiatives, employee resource groups, compliance and audit activities, as well as aligning and communicating HR strategies. Dan began his career with Northrop Grumman in the field of technical training successfully progressing into many roles and responsibilities within human resources. Dan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology from University of Phoenix, Baltimore, and an MBA from University of Maryland University College. Dan also holds a Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) certification from the Society of Human Resources.

Conference Remarks

This panel presents a case study overview of public and private sector organizations that provides insight into employee and managerial perceptions of disability practices. The study drew comparisons across the private and public sectors on manager's awareness of disability practices, and how effective managers think these practice are. The panel also compares disability bias and self-disclosure in the two sectors.

Questions and Answers

Question, Participant:

So this is for Jennifer. You raised something, I think, that's interesting in terms of where disability fits in within an organizational structure, and a comment that I have is that we have to be very careful about not moving it into a wellness or benefits area, because then we further compartmentalize the population. So if we truly want to integrate it, it has to be part of the whole.

Answer, Susanne M. Bruyère:

I think that's a great comment. You know, I registered that as well when we talked about it, and I know there's so many different models of where this issue could sit.

But I think it's important enough not to send the message that disability is equated with ill health, and so that's something we really want to be sensitive to, as we structure where in the organization this should go.

Question, Participant:

A couple of comments. It seems to me that the stress of self-disclosure could create some very positive, as well as some very perverse incentives for both employers and employees, and I guess my plea is that you go into this with your eyes wide open to that.

Answer, Susanne M. Bruyère:

I think that's very good advice, and I think we are all mindful of that. We certainly have heard that from our federal contractor colleagues, that they're concerned about how to implement the new regulations without compromising the confidentiality of individuals, while responding to the need to produce numbers about their efforts.

So I think we're still figuring that out for sure, and your warning is an appropriate one. Other comments or questions of our panelists?

Question, Participant:

Mr. Ellerman, could you expand a little bit on what you were talking about with regard to half of the performance appraisal? I'm not quite sure I understood what you said. If you could talk about that a bit more...

Answer, Dan Ellerman:

Sure. So when we do annual performance appraisals, we take a look at metrics, you know, you have your job duties and tasks, and how you're measured. So there's some sort of metric against what you're supposed to perform as part of your regular day-to-day job is concerned.

The other half of that equation now is really your leadership competency areas. Are you seen as a good leader? Are you developing your employees? Are you providing these opportunities for learning and growth?

So those are the second half of the equation now, not just before. Prior to that, it was like your job tasks were 100 percent of your performance goal, and then those leadership competencies were considered maybe an add, or maybe a 20 percent adder to the performance that could boost you up. But now they're actually considered a major component of your performance appraisal system.

Question, Participant:

Is this for all of your managers and supervisors?

Answer, Dan Ellerman:

Yes, yes. So are all of our managers and supervisors part of their performance, and for executive leadership teams, we actually do have a diversity inclusion component to their executive and incentive comp.

Question, Participant:

I was just looking for where you find Lisa's presentation. It's so brilliant, and I can't find it on the web.

Answer, Susanne M. Bruyère:

No. It's not. This has been just finalized in the last week. It is not on the web. We are going to do summaries, briefs, for each of these. Some of them we already have done. But we will make sure that they are available. We're also going to do interviews with some of our presenters. They will be on our web as well. Anyone who has registered for the conference will get a link to this information when it's up on our website. We will make sure that you have information in a digestible format will be made available to you from these presentations. Would you like to add something to that?

Comment, Lisa Hisae Nishii:

And I would welcome any questions you have, after you have a chance to go through it on your time. I would just be very happy to receive that kind of feedback, you know, what kinds of questions that might be triggering for you.

Whether or not I'll be able to answer them with the data I can't promise. But it's certainly helpful for us to know what questions come up for you. So we would welcome that exchange.


To view a plain text version of the slides seen below, please see the
Plain Text Summaries.