The productivity of a business determines its success in a competitive market. Productivity is an integral component of a business model. Increased productivity puts more items on shelves, whereas decreased productivity means trouble. Staff turnover is also an important part of the business model.
With high employee turnover comes reduced productivity due to training. With inclusion, a company gets the best of both worlds: high productivity and low staff turnover. Businesses who adopt inclusion see a 22 percent increase in productivity and, again, a 22 percent decrease in employee turnover. The case study below outlines just how successful adopting inclusion can be for an organization's bottom line.
Case Study: Walgreens' Inclusion Efforts
A company that has seen remarkable results after adopting inclusion is Walgreens. Walgreens is American's largest drugstore chain, which employs over 240,000 individuals (40% of which that have some form of disability). In an effort to promote diversity and inclusion in their work environments, Walgreens strategically created inclusion initiatives.
The drugstore giant awards diversity scholarships, has an extremely successful Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative, and recruits retired military personnel. Walgreens' inclusion strategies have been so successful that they have undergone studies and visits by more than 200 U.S corporate leaders.
In particular, the company's Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative has seen great outcomes for both the business and the individuals themselves. Walgreens has partnered with Have Dreams, an autistic resource center, to open a training center much like a simulated Walgreens store. In this center, autistic adults are provided with "on the job" training, specifically covering how to stock and organize shelves, operate cash registers, and effectively communicate with colleagues and customers.
Building upon this training center and multiple successful pilot projects, Walgreens launched the initiative nationwide in 2012. Since that time, the company has come to employ more than 150 autistic adults in a customer service representative position who have gone through the program. With the guiding principle of "same job, same performance" Walgreens refuses to allocate special jobs for those who have disabilities.
Measurement of the initiative proves it is outputting desirable results. Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Governor, expands on the program's success. "At one of their distribution centers where more than 50 percent of the employees have disabilities, Walgreens has experienced a 120 percent productivity increase." Additionally, reducing turnover of staff has also been accomplished. Turnover at Walgreens' Connecticut distribution center stood only at 15 percent, compared to 55 percent at other centers (due to the repetitive nature of the work).
Walgreens executives also sing high praises of the initiative. According to Michelle Borzych, director of supply chain strategy in supply chain and transportation, "the result has been a very open, high-performing culture. Everyone works together, side by side, and both performance and engagement are high." As one can see, Walgreens' inclusion efforts are clearly paying off. Employee performance, engagement, and productivity have all skyrocketed. Not only has the program benefitted the company in terms of increased output, but it has also improved the lives of many employees living with disabilities.
Hard numbers make a compelling case as to why inclusion should happen. Adopting inclusion brings with it increased productivity and reduced staff turnover. If a business puts careful thought, organization, and strategy into their inclusion efforts, anything but success isn't an option.