Celebrating Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility at Schwab

Through diversity we gain a wider range of perspectives and experiences

Article

July 23, 2020

At Charles Schwab — a company founded by challenging the status quo — we know firsthand that being different, and embracing our differences, matters.

Through diversity we gain a wider range of perspectives and experiences, which benefits everyone. Whether building an inclusive, accessible environment where everyone feels valued, ensuring digital user experiences are adaptable, developing more inclusive talent pipelines, or expanding relationships with diverse clients, there is always more to be done.

As part of Schwab’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and accessibility companywide — and in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26 — we’re shining a light on some of the achievements and opportunities in these crucial areas.

Putting the ‘Response’ in ‘Responsibility’

When Dr. Richard Pimentel — a consultant, speaker and professional trainer on disability awareness and management — talks to audiences about the responsibility organizations have to ensure their workplaces are welcoming and accessible to all, he thinks back to a particular experience he had while serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam.

The lesson, he explains, had nothing to do with disabilities, even though he returned home from war with debilitating injuries that included almost total hearing loss. Rather, it was about leadership and about the roots of the word “responsibility” itself.

“Given your ‘abilities,’ what is going to be your ‘response’ to a given situation?” Pimentel asks people to consider, just as one of his leaders asked him on the field of battle. Although it is a simple question, the answer can have profound effects on organizations and the people they serve and employ.

Pimentel will share this message — as well as insight into how he became a voice in the civil rights movement for persons with disabilities, advocating for the passage of the ADA — when he serves as a guest speaker at a virtual event for employees and clients on July 23.

The 90-minute discussion on “Facing Crisis and Change with Resilience” is being jointly hosted by two of Schwab’s Employee Resource Groups: Charles Schwab Abilities Network (CSAN) and Military Veterans Network (MVN).

In his remarks, Pimentel will touch on the history of the disability rights movement and the challenges he and others faced in changing the way persons with disabilities were treated in the workplace, as well as how inclusive practices benefit all.

Plus, given the uncertain environment we’re all experiencing now, he’ll discuss the importance of finding the opportunities in adversity and the importance of leadership in times of crisis.

  • Event: “Resilience in a Time of Crisis and Change: A Conversation on Leadership, Disability, and Inclusion​”
  • For a replay of this event, please click here.

Honoring Accessibility at Schwab

Because people with varying abilities — whether they are employees or clients — use technology in different ways, Schwab strives to create simple and intuitive interfaces across all products. To be successful, this philosophy must be woven into and supported throughout the DNA of every product Schwab creates and through every stage of development, touching leaders, product owners, content strategists, visual/interaction designers, front- and back-end developers and clients. 

As a result, Schwab’s Accessibility Team adheres to best practices like Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA, which cover recommendations for making digital information more accessible to a broad spectrum of people with disabilities, across a range of devices.

The Schwab Web Accessibility Knowledge Center on the company’s intranet serves as a center of excellence for our product teams working on client-facing digital content providing vital information and ensuring we provide an inclusive user experience. The Workplace Accessibility Center is a dedicated employee-facing resource that includes digital tools, information and the necessary communications to engage with co-workers as well as contribute to the success of their teams and organization.

In recognition of these efforts, Charles Schwab has been named as a top employer by the Disability Equality Index. With a score of 90 percent, Schwab was listed as one of the “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion.”

The DEI is a comprehensive assessment tool that offers businesses an opportunity to self-report their disability inclusion policies and practices. It was developed by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN, in consultation with the appointed DEI Advisory Committee, a diverse group of experts in business, policy and disability advocacy.

“The best way to attract, retain and grow talent with disabilities is to create an accessible, inclusive workplace” said Jill Houghton, president and chief executive officer of Disability:IN. This year’s top scoring Disability Equality Index companies are demonstrating their commitment to many of the numerous leading disability inclusion practices featured in the DEI, recognizing that there’s still room for improvement.”

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