As a Company whose values include trust, care and partnership, it is second nature to make the health and wellbeing of our own employees a priority. We continue to support our people through training and development so that they can both grow professionally and meet the evolving challenges of our industry.
Walgreens commitment to people with disabilities
Walgreens has always hired people with disabilities, however in the mid-2000s a new generation of distribution centers were developed, making the timing right to design facilities and training programs to help create more job opportunities for people with disabilities.
The strategy for the program was built on three pillars:
- Jobs and expectations would be the same whether an employee had a disability or not;
- All employees would be held to the same work standards for the same pay; and
- The model should be sustainable and fit operational, human resource and other critical standards.
In 2007, Walgreens opened the first distribution center under this program in Anderson, South Carolina. It surpassed its goal to be 30 percent more efficient than the previous generation of distribution centers and to have people with disabilities comprise at least 20 percent of the workforce. Two years later, a similar distribution center opened in Connecticut.
Physical changes at the distribution centers gave more people with disabilities the opportunity to work for Walgreens. The implementation of technology developed for accommodating the needs of employees with disabilities included changing work station computer screens from text-based to touchscreens with icons, installing adjustable workstations, and providing employees who have difficulty speaking or hearing with tablets that enable them to type or write to express themselves.
Smaller investments were deemed to be equally effective, such as using iconology at workstations to accommodate team members who understand pictures better than numbers or letters.
In fiscal 2015, Walgreens launched transitional working groups at all Walgreens distribution centers. The transitional working groups, in conjunction with local non-profit organizations and state disability agencies, provide candidates with disabilities on-the-job training of technical skills and soft skills such as cafeteria etiquette and socializing with team members. At the completion of the transitional work group program, the trainee may be eligible for hire.
Walgreens continues to provide employment through the Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI)
Building upon its rich history of growing talent and recognizing ability through greater diversity in the workplace, Walgreens launched its national Retail Employees with -Disabilities Initiative (REDI) in 2012.
The four- to six-week in-store training program aims to help people with disabilities gain retail and customer service skills and works closely with community organizations and vocational rehabilitation agencies to train and develop candidates.
Around 80 stores participated in the program, with approximately 100 people trained during the year. Over 700 people have completed the training since the program began.