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Five Ways Disability Self-ID Campaigns Benefit Workplace Culture

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For many people with disabilities, identifying themselves as such in the workplace evokes fear of discrimination and stigma. Self-Identification campaigns – typically referred to as Self-ID campaigns – are a great way for employers to prompt disability disclosure among their employees and continue to foster a culture of inclusion in the workplace. 

Organizations planning to host a Self-ID campaign should provide multiple methods for collecting information from employees with disabilities. This can include allowing employees to self-identify anonymously, perhaps by sending out a general employee survey that includes the question, “Do you have a disability?” Some may use the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ formal Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form, while others may have more public opportunities for employees to share personal stories about their disability-related experiences. Regardless of which method an employer uses, Self-ID campaigns have numerous benefits for both employees and employers. Here are our top 5: 

  1. They can help employers measure their success in disability hiring. 

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities and requires employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. To continue to improve employment outcomes, employers must be able to measure their success in disability hiring, which means employees with disabilities must self-identify. However, it is always important to remember that compliance with regulations is only one reason to create an equitable workplace! 

  1. They push back against stigma. 

There is a long history of the stigma that comes with having a disability. This can manifest as a fear of disability, the mindset of seeing disability as undesirable, or, most insidiously, as ableism– discrimination in favor of non-disabled people. By hosting and participating in a Self-ID campaign, employers and employees both seize the opportunity to show that disability is simply another form of diversity, much like gender and sexual orientation. A diverse workplace is a dynamic workplace. 

  1. It’s good for business. 

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 4.0 toolkit, teams that have a diverse makeup are up to 36% more likely to outperform on profitability and have up to 20% higher rates of innovation. The bottom line is that diversity, which includes disability, outperforms homogeneity. Furthermore, it can be enormously beneficial for an organization’s makeup to reflect the population they seek to market to. 

  1. They calm fears of disability discrimination at work. 

One of the most common reasons employees choose not to disclose their disability is because they fear negative consequences in the workplace, such as discrimination. By taking a “loud and proud” stance on disability visibility, employers and employees alike show that they value disability and would not take negative action against a team member with a disability. Self-ID campaigns can take a variety of forms, ranging from anonymous surveys to putting a “face” to disability and featuring selected employees who self-identify as disabled. 

  1. They can be a catalyst for the creation of a vibrant Employee Resource Group (ERG).

People are naturally attracted to those they share similar experiences– the workplace is no exception. Learning about other team members' experiences and disabilities through a Self-ID campaign can be the catalyst for creating a disability-specific Employee Resource Group (ERG). 


There are numerous reasons to host a disability Self-ID campaign. While it’s important to know the number of employees with disabilities an organization has, fostering more inclusive workplaces and creating better experiences for all employees is arguably more important.