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Mindset Matters: The Art And Science Of Data In The Disability Economy

With continued advancements across the digital landscape businesses are hungry for data-driven analytics designed to enhance growth, improve efficiencies, and ultimately yield a competitive advantage. For the Disability Economy to flourish, critical knowledge around key performance indicators or KPIs is essential for long-term sustainability. Recently, the Valuable 500 introduced a white paper at The World Economic Forum in Davos titled “ESG and Disability Data: A Call for Inclusive Reporting”. The significance of such a document is that it recognizes critical data gaps while highlighting the key metrics necessary to help organizations gain traction to participate in this space.

As indicated in the report the Valuable 500 suggests 5 key performance indicators that are essential for disability inclusion. They are Workforce Representation, Goals, Training, Employee Resource Groups, and Digital Accessibility. Each of these areas should no longer be something that businesses check off as part of their DEI to-do list, but rather, establish this as a critical imperative to ensure inclusivity for consumers and employees alike. While organizations need to pivot towards standardization of key performance metrics around disability, it is also just as important to recognize the processes themselves. This is where a level of artistry plays an essential role in this ongoing journey.

Perhaps we should take a moment to be a bit more specific to define what artistry means in this context. This comes back to the idea of Emotional Intelligence or EQ and the role it must play not only in the process of data analytics but helping to establish an organizational culture that understands the value and meaning of the Disability Economy. We cannot look to standardize key data points around disability if organizations from the C-suite on down are ill-prepared and are unwilling to acknowledge it as a key value proposition. This is where the true balancing act begins. For companies to be primed and ready to engage further in this type of data analytics there are processes to be considered that are critical for the longevity of such a practice.

To get to the true value of these standardized analytics found in KPIs, perhaps we need another acronym to attain these goals. From the mind of Intel’s Co-founder Andy Grove, it may be useful to utilize OKRs or Objectives and Key Results as a framework for gaining more effective analytics. By thinking not only about the objectives but the how-to question where companies can develop processes to examine many of these pressing issues surrounding disability across the enterprise. Utilizing fundamental techniques of emotional intelligence from psychological safety, and empathy to understanding, organizations can develop a sense of clarity that offers more effective ways to engage in information gathering. It is this level of authenticity and transparency that needs to be part of the daily toolkit for gathering data.

I am reminded of the maxim that my grandfather would constantly espouse when he’d say, “business is about people.” Even in an age where we are driven by more and more data, the role of personhood and how we can extract that data must be considered. Perhaps the next frontier within the quest for Disability Data is not only standardization but the very idea that disability in all its complexities needs a different touch in terms of the human element. As companies’ values are transitioning more holistically, there is a recognition that employee health, satisfaction, and other indicators are driving change, and the status of respect and personhood becomes paramount within the function of business practice.