November 25, 2014

TIPS TO INCREASE EMPLOYEE RESPONSE ON DISABILITY FORMS

We have spent a lot of time in earlier blogs discussing the potential problem with voluntary self-identification rates for disability and how that would impact the utilization analysis. In addition, we wrote a white paper  about this issue.  This blog will not revisit the potential issues with non-response, but will instead focus on tips for increasing response rates.

The reality is that employees are not filling out the voluntary self-id form.  DCI conducted an informal survey of companies that have implemented their employee self-id process, and thus far the response rates are generally abysmal, as in the 2-5% range.  We have seen a few mid-size companies with response rates as high as 14%, but most companies are well under a 10% response rate.  Keep in mind, this is not the percentage of employees identifying as disabled.  This is just the percentage of people responding at all (disabled, not disabled, or I do not wish to disclose).

To this point, we provide in this blog tips toward maximizing employee response on disability identification forms. DCI has gathered tips through discussions with contractors who have implemented the invitation to self-identify as an IWD. These contractors have found success in using the following:

  • Marketing strategy – A clear marketing strategy will assist contractors in ensuring their employees know what is coming with the invitation form and why it is being used. Getting the word out early and often will set the stage for employees.
  • CEO-level buy-in – A CEO endorsement of the contractor’s efforts will convey commitment to diversity and inclusion from the top down.
  • Ensure confidentiality – The information obtained by the disability form is sensitive and it is critically important that employees are confident their status disclosure will not be shared.
  • Ensure easy completion – Although the form must be produced in exactly the OMB-approved format, contractors are faced with decisions on how to present the invitation to employees. Make completion of the form as easy as possible and consider rolling it into other self-service update options and prompts.
  • Encourage participation – Send reminders to employees and consider including a deadline on the initial push in order to provide motivation for employees to respond in a timely fashion. This form is voluntary for employees to complete, so DO NOT force employees to provide a response.

As more best practices are identified, DCI will be sure to share what is learned.  Stay tuned!

By Jana Garman, M.A., Consultant and Kristen Pryor, M.S., Associate Consultant, DCI Consulting Group 

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