GM’s Commitment to People With Disabilities, General Motors

GM’s Commitment to People With Disabilities

Why is your company focused on recruiting people with disabilities? Describe your recruitment/outreach initiatives.

Like most companies within STEM-driven industries, GM is in a battle to attract and hire STEM talent. We realize that we need to open the aperture to attract a broad array of talent. This includes people with disabilities. We have identified key positions, especially within manufacturing and IT, that can be filled by leveraging the unique skills that people with disabilities can offer.

There are many initiatives that contribute to our recruiting efforts for bringing more people with disabilities into GM. Those efforts include:

• Joining an innovative pilot project (“Going for Gold”) in 2014 with five other national companies sponsored by the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN). This three-year initiative was supported by several USBLN subject matter experts (SMEs) who are recognized leaders in disability inclusion. These SMEs worked closely with GM and other member companies to offer customized high-quality consulting services on disability inclusion practices, 503 regulatory requirements; how to build a talent pipeline of individuals/veterans with disabilities; and effective accommodations policies, processes, practices and more. At the three-year mark, GM’s salaried new hire efforts had reached over 300, well above the original commitment of 190 hires. Most of these new hires are now employed within the manufacturing, engineering, IT and aftermarket sales functions;

• Establishing partnerships with more than 25 disability government, community and academic sourcing partners to source candidates with disabilities;

• Providing disability inclusion training for our HR Business Partners and Recruiting Team Members; and,

• Working with local organizations like The Autism Alliance of Michigan to launch our DEMAND (Driving Employment to Meet Automotive Needs through Diversity) pilot program to fill newly created, full-time positions, especially designed for people with Autism.

What programs do you have in place to retain and develop employees with disabilities?

We have professional development programs that are inclusive of employees with disabilities. Our Technical Rotation and Career Knowledge (TRACK) Program is built for ambitious students who are finishing their undergraduate or advanced degree programs and who have up to three years of related experience. A structured, early career development program, TRACK provides hands-on practice for developing solutions for complex assignments, innovation sessions and cross-functional experiences to expand their skills and opportunities to help them build their networks.

What challenge(s) has the company faced in recruiting or retaining people with disabilities and how has it overcome those challenges?

The biggest challenge is hiring managers’ fears to take on a person with a disability. Our targeted training for hiring managers, as mentioned previously, is helping address those concerns.

Additionally, to facilitate more employment interest from people with disabilities, the GM careers page has been updated with the following verbiage to encourage people with disabilities to apply for job opportunities:

Accessibility & Equal Opportunity Employer

GM Careers Accessibility Statement:

General Motors strives to ensure that its careers web site is accessible to all, including individuals with disabilities.

Our current accessibility features include:

• Alternative text detail is provided for images and other non-text elements.

• Structural markups are standard-compliant and indicate headings to aid in page comprehension.

• Information is conveyed without reliance on color.

To support the interview process, the following information is also provided:

General Motors is committed to being an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and offers opportunities to all job seekers including individuals with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation to assist with your job search or application for employment, e-mail us at In your e-mail, please include a description of the specific accommodation you are requesting as well as the job title and requisition number of the position for which you are applying.

Employee retention and accommodation

GM has a sprawling engineering campus and that campus is expanding. There were many shuttle buses available to transport employees throughout the complex; however, few were wheelchair friendly. Once elevated to our attention, additional shuttles were adapted for transport accessibility.

GM’s Disability Advisory Council was formed in 2015 and is a joint council of cross-functional executives and GM ABLE ERG members focused on advancing PWD inclusion and is led by the ERG Executive Champion. Accomplishments include: captioned broadcasts; employee requests for facilities-related reasonable accommodations escalated to same level as safety requests; improved process for employment candidates to request reasonable accommodations on careers website; identified lead resource for PWD in talent acquisition organization; intranet articles opening up the dialogue about PWD; and educational Lunch-n-Learns to help educate interested employees about people with disabilities and serve as a resource to employees with disabled family members. The Council is also focused on improving Enterprise Search capability; evaluating current/future accessibility capabilities of current tools, including common desktop applications and mobile devices; and accessibility-compliance for GM’s many internal and external-facing websites.

Share specific examples of how your disability resource group helped the company recruit, retain, shape policy, address or market to people with disabilities.

GM was one of the very first companies to have an employee resource group (ERG) for people with disabilities. Our GM ABLE ERG was established in 1993 and has been instrumental in providing input on facilities accommodations and in sharing their time/talents with local communities, and people caring for a family member with a disability. Their mission is: “to drive a culture of inclusion to better serve our customers, employees, and community through innovation, talent enrichment, awareness, and outreach for people with disabilities and their allies.”

The ERG has an actively used internal website and an internal social media group. GM ABLE is made up of both employees with disabilities and a community of employees who are caregivers to children with disabilities and aging parents. GM ABLE collaborates frequently with the veteran’s employee resource group on activities of mutual focus. As the result of information and counsel from GM ABLE, the company has added Autism benefits for employees and their dependents. And last year, GM ABLE teamed with five local disability councils to host quarterly best-practice sharing meetings.

Our GM ABLE ERG has made considerable business contributions and is frequently leveraged to serve as a voice of people with disabilities (PWD) in product development/Global Connected Customer Experience (OnStar, Autonomous taxi pilots); to help promote PWD adaptive products/services (GM Mobility); and to serve as a resource for PWD customer requirements. More recently, GM ABLE has been actively engaged in working with autonomous vehicle teams. Finally, GM ABLE ERG members participated in focus groups to inform the innovative design of our new Technology Centers to ensure Universal Design Principles are utilized by the facilities process.

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