When It Comes to Disability Hiring, Measure What’s Working (and What’s Not) | Blog by Carol Glazer, President

One would be hard-pressed to find a group of people more obsessed with measurement than today’s Presidential candidates. Their lifeblood is polling data. Campaign courses are shifted; stump speeches re-written; and even clothing tailored all based on the latest set of poll numbers in states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. You might think, “If you can measure it, you can manage it,” surely was first uttered by a campaign manager for Coolidge or Jackson or Roosevelt. Not so. In fact, Lord Kelvin, the Scottish engineer and scientist famous for his temperature scale, is largely credited with that expression.

More than 100 years later, the business community has certainly embraced Lord Kelvin’s ahead-of-his-time approach to project analysis. It is why those of us who partner with corporate America are doubling down on investing in tools that can provide real metrics to help decision-makers make, well, better decisions.

For decades, the National Organization on Disability fielded national Harris surveys tracking the gaps in access to education, transportation and employment for people with disabilities. Researchers flocked to the data to uncover trends that could lead to overdue changes in public policy for Americans with disabilities.

Today, though, NOD is changing its approach to measurement. If we are to help companies realize new approaches to hiring people with disabilities, we first need to provide them with meaningful real-time data that can directly help guide that approach. It’s why we created the Disability Employment Tracker™. It’s a free tool with a simple premise: confidentially provide companies with critical data on their disability hiring and inclusion practices, showing where they excel and where there are opportunities for improvement.

Let’s pause for a moment to revisit what Lord Kelvin actually said back at the end of the 19th century. It turns out “If you can measure it, you can manage it” is a CliffsNotes version of his famous quote. This is what he really said: “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind.”

That is exactly what we had been hearing from employers who were craving real data. They wanted to know how their current hiring practices are working, and even more, how they stack up against other companies. For the dozens of FORTUNE 1,000 companies taking the Tracker, they receive a benchmarking scorecard with specific measurements on key aspects of disability employment practice. Areas like climate and culture, employment lifecycle, tracking and measuring and results and opportunities.

As a nonprofit that provides professional services to business, it is incumbent upon us to create the tools and resources that human resources and diversity and inclusion officers need to make smarter, better-informed decisions. Only then will they be better able to hire people as talented and capable as Lord Kelvin, who himself lived most of his adult life with a disability. If you’re looking for that cutting edge in the race for talent, get started today with the free Disability Employment Tracker™.


NOD Remembers Peter Otto

NEW YORK (February 2, 2016) – Peter Otto had no formal role with the National Organization on Disability.  What he did have was a love for the organization and a deep respect for its mission. He was a volunteer in the best sense of the word.

He was like a protective uncle – fretting about our finances, guiding us on technology, counseling us on management. Peter cared.

During all of this, he was battling multiple myeloma – a progressive condition that sapped his energy and required treatments that laid him low at times. That was belied by the smiles and jokes that accompanied his wise and often stern advice.

Earlier this week, he lost the battle with his disease. He leaves us with the spirit to fight on to help others.

– Ken Roman, Director

Towards the end of Peter’s life, one or another of us at NOD would call or email him for a get-together. Of course his health was rapidly declining, but until the end, he would say, “well I’ve been under the weather, but I should be back in the pink in a few weeks, so let’s plan something then.”

Either he meant it, forever the optimist, or forever caring about his friends and loved ones, he was putting our minds at rest about his health. Either way Peter Otto showed a rare display of character, wit, resilience and generosity of spirit. He will be missed by all of us who worked with him.

– Carol Glazer, President