Salesforce’s 2024 Stakeholder Impact Report Highlights Accessibility Initiatives

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Salesforce’s 2024 Stakeholder Impact Report Highlights Accessibility Initiatives

Salesforce’s 2024 Stakeholder Impact Report showcases its 25-year legacy of advancing accessibility and inclusion through strategic partnerships, innovative training programs, and global initiatives—all aimed at empowering professionals with disabilities.

Apr 29, 2024

An overview:

  • Accessibility as a Core Value: Salesforce is committed to accessibility and inclusion, incorporating these principles across its global operations throughout the past 25 years. The company's numerous Equality Groups, particularly Abilityforce, have been pivotal in ensuring both physical and digital environments are universally accessible, continuously earning top marks on the Disability Equality Index.
  • Expanding Global Initiatives: Salesforce is actively enhancing its Disabilities @ Work initiatives worldwide by recruiting professionals with disabilities, establishing mentorship programs, and fostering inclusive workplace cultures. These efforts aim to empower individuals regardless of their disability status, and improve cultural and business practices internationally.
  • Enhancing Training & Development: Addressing the disability employment gap, Salesforce has introduced new platforms such as Workforce Navigators and enriched its Trailhead training platform with disability-inclusive content. These initiatives are designed to equip professionals with disabilities with the necessary tools to excel in the tech industry, backed by strategic partnerships and a strong commitment to accessibility advocacy.

More of Silicon Valley is integrating the principles of accessibility, inclusion, and belonging into their work cultures in no small part due to the efforts Salesforce has undertaken to transform its ecosystem throughout the 25 years since its founding.

As a disability advocate, the cloud-based software leader holds equity as a core value, evidenced by its numerous Equality Groups, including Abilityforce, which unites employees with visible and invisible disabilities and their allies. Abilityforce ensures Salesforce’s physical and technological environments are accessible and designed for all people.

This dedication to accessibility is showcased in Salesforce’s 2024 Stakeholder Impact Report, highlighting several Disabilities @ Work initiatives, including partnerships with government and nonprofit agencies, accessibility-first training programs, and the introduction of more inclusive practices to in-person events—all geared toward empowering professionals with disabilities.

These efforts have earned Salesforce a top score of 100 on the Disability Equality Index for the fifth consecutive year, and a place on nonprofit Disability:IN’s “Best Places to Work for People With Disabilities” list.

Expanding Workplace Disabilities Initiatives Globally

Salesforce continues to expand its global Disabilities @ Work initiatives centered on recruiting professionals with disabilities, nurturing more inclusive workplace policies, and creating team cultures where all people can thrive regardless of disability status.

This includes launching a mentorship program with PurpleSpace, a UK-based networking and development hub for professionals with disabilities and their allies, supporting employees with disabilities with coaching and peer-to-peer connections. Given Salesforce’s employees are global, there is also an added focus on improving cultural and business practices in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan.

Fostering more inclusive and accessible teams entails increasing leadership representation of those with disabilities, supporting families with disabilities, and empowering managers to become better allies to disabled team members.

Further Developing Accessible Training Programs & Career Development Opportunities

While the employment rate of professionals with disabilities was 22.5 percent in 2023—the highest recorded ratio since comparable data was first collected by the U.S. Labor Bureau in 2008—the unemployment rate for people with a disability was 7.2 percent, roughly twice that of their non-disabled peers.

Overcoming the so-called “disability employment gap” has become a major priority for Salesforce during its 25 years of increased accessibility.

In 2023, Salesforce rolled out a new website for Workforce Navigators, a program dedicated to empowering professionals with disabilities to realize their full potential and transform their careers in the tech industry. In particular, Workforce Navigators provides scholarships and mentorship opportunities for professionals with disabilities interested in careers within the Salesforce ecosystem.

To further these efforts, more disability-inclusive content and learning modules were added to the training platform Trailhead, as well. Trailhead has become a powerful vehicle for equipping professionals with disabilities with the tools needed to become effective Salesforce administrators for companies throughout the tech world.

“With my experience over the years of being visually impaired, I've not found a software developer or a company that truly supported the accommodation of a blind person,” explains Strini Naidoo, a 2023 Trailhead participant. “I’ve battled. I wish I knew about this 10 or 20 years earlier. I would have been far ahead in my career and advancement.”

To attract more professionals with disabilities, Salesforce established a partnership with myAbility, a social enterprise boasting the largest job board for professionals with disabilities in the German-speaking world. The Fortune 100 company also published a U.K.-focused accessibility site providing support and resources for its employees hired in the United Kingdom.

Partnerships Fostering Greater Accessibility at Work

Strategic partnerships remained central to Salesforce’s accessibility advocacy strategy throughout 2023.

The partnership with the Blind Institute of Technology (BIT), a nonprofit dedicated to helping professionals with disabilities find employment and success in the workplace, may be its most prominent

In fact, BIT Founder Mike Hess received the 2023 Golden Hoodie Award for his contributions to Workforce Navigators. BIT is an integral part of the Trailhead program, connecting many people with disabilities to the training platform and potential employment opportunities with Salesforce following the completion of certification courses.

Government partnerships have been impactful, as well.

Salesforce joined the Disability Confident scheme, a government-led initiative in the U.K. to help employers attract, recruit, and retain professionals with disabilities or long-term health conditions. And in France, Salesforce penned an agreement with unions to fund a comprehensive plan to support professionals with disabilities throughout the next three years.

Salesforce also became a prominent member of nonprofit Teach Access’ Building Bridges Collective, an alliance of companies, foundations, and individuals committed to equipping aspiring technology leaders with the tools necessary to foster a more accessible and inclusive world.

25 Years of Progress

Much of the accessibility support at Salesforce up to 2015 was driven by compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), a federal law instrumental in improving the physical world for people with disabilities.

Salesforce’s Product Accessibility team was created in the early 2010s, followed by the formation of AbilityForce in 2016 and the implementation of universal design into the Salesforce towers by Real Estate and Workshop Services throughout 2016-2019.

Since its founding in 2019, the Office of Accessibility has continuously shaped culture and product design to be more inclusive. This ethos is embodied in Salesforce’s “shift left” mentality, an approach prioritizing accessibility from the beginning of the creation process.

This framework informed progress with in-person events, as well.

Dreamforce 2024 was the most accessible it’s ever been, featuring an accessibility talk track, nine breakout sessions focused on disability inclusion, and its first Comprehensive Accessibility Guide.

TrailblazerDX 2024 also integrated several additional initiatives including a Quiet Zone, more than 100 volunteers identifying and mitigating accessibility barriers, and captioning in English available for all keynotes, breakout sessions, and Salesforce+. Sign language interpreters were also provided during all keynote sessions.

It’s still relatively early in Salesforce’s accessibility journey, but the software company is off to a promising start.

Salesforce is a founding partner of InclusionHub, a resource for digital accessibility committed to helping businesses and organizations prioritize digital inclusion. To learn more about how your organization can better support professionals with disabilities, visit Salesforce’s a11y website.

Written by Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey Howard is a senior inbound content developer at Hypha HubSpot Development and regular contributor at InclusionHub.

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