UKG Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month


At UKG, the employee resource group ADAPT (Accessibility and Disability Allies Partner Together) raises awareness around different abilities. ADAPT provides programming and support to U Krewers, as well as ensures our facilities, HR technology, and marketing resources are inclusive to people with disabilities. In 2023, we were proud to receive a 100% score on the Disability Equality Index for the third year in a row. 

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), UKG spoke with three members of the ADAPT employee resource group (ERG) to better understand their experiences and how we can support peers, colleagues, family members, and candidates who may not conform to traditional workplace expectations. 

Teri M., Trust & Fund Ops Assoc III

Support and advocacy: I became disabled after I was already a U Krewer. While I was on medical leave, so many of my colleagues checked on me. They even sent me a package on Thanksgiving. It included a complete meal for my son and myself so that we could celebrate the holiday. When I came back to work in a wheelchair, my managers, teammates, and others were there to help me adjust to a new life experience. Caring is part of our culture at UKG.

The floor I worked on was rebranded a few years ago and was made ADA compliant. Wheelchair accessibility was considered throughout the office. I later transferred to another office, and the building was not ADA compliant, and basically inaccessible to me without help. Our office manager advocated for me, and during COVID they made the appropriate upgrades.

Interviewing advice: The hardest thing about any disability is being open about it, especially if it can be hidden. (I can’t hide my wheelchair!) UKG is an inclusive and accepting place to work, but it is up to you to be open if you need accommodations or help.

ADAPT’s impact: On both a personal and a professional level, ADAPT has taught me to better advocate for myself. It helped me learn that you are not supposed to go through life on your own, and asking for help broadens your world, and the world of your supporters. 

I am most proud of coming back to work when I could have gone on disability. My independence and desire to contribute and accomplish is something I think we all aspire to, regardless of any differences.

I am most proud of coming back to work when I could have gone on disability. My independence and desire to contribute and accomplish is something I think we all aspire to, regardless of any differences.

–Teri M.

Advice for NDEAM: I was in my 50s when I became disabled. I was very active and independent my entire life, and suddenly that was gone. I may be disabled now, but I am a person first and foremost. This is so true of all of us. Many who have differences have been excluded from the workforce in the past. This must stop. We are capable of so much if just given the opportunity.

Support team: At work, I turn to my team and my manager for support. I have been open about my health and disability issues, so we have transparency. There is also a level of trust with my manager. He knows that if I need help or I’ve hit the wall I will reach out. He and my team have never failed to respond to me in support.

United, Kind, and Growing: I am proud of UKG’s values and the fact that we are very public about them. There are so many toxic work environments, and UKG is not one of those. People care, and they are willing to step up and help each other in so many ways. Sometimes something as simple as a smile and hello can make a big impact.

Kaleigh G., Knowledge Engineer

Embracing neurodiversity: UKG provides me the flexibility and acceptance to be exactly who I am as a neurodivergent individual and to be the parent that I need to be for my neurodivergent child. I fundamentally think and process information differently from a neurotypical peer. For example, I may not remember small details of a conversation, so I take lots of notes. My manager also helps me by writing out instructions or recaps of important conversations and meetings. Our team uses a roadmap of projects we are all working on which is broken down into smaller steps, and this really helps me to map out my approach to my work, and to stay on task. 

I can also be distracted by on-camera meetings. I process auditory information better when I focus on something stationary or use a fidget. This can appear to others that I am not paying attention or that I’m multi-tasking, so sometimes I hyperfocus to make sure I look like I’m listening to a neurotypical peer. My manager and team help with this by not requiring us to be on camera unless it’s truly necessary, and when we are, they know I am listening despite what my body language can suggest. 

As a parent to an autistic child, life can be unexpected. My son is three years old and thriving because of the flexibility I have been given with UKG. Life is full of speech, physical, and occupational therapies multiple times a week. One of the ways UKG accommodates my needs in my family life is by allowing me to work remotely. This allows me two more hours in my day not spent commuting to take my son to therapy or work with his pre-school to help him thrive. I am also given the flexibility in my schedule to attend meetings or appointments. 

Advocating for disclosure: I only realized the extent of my own neurodiversity after I had already been working at UKG for quite some time, so I can’t speak firsthand about disclosing a disability in an interview, but I would recommend it, nonetheless. You will find that UKG cares about having a diverse workplace and is more than willing to give accommodations to the individuals that create that diversity. 

Building connections: I have benefitted so much from being able to connect with other parents of neurodivergent children via UKG’s ADAPT ERG. There is a solidarity there and an experience that is just inherently different from parenting a neurotypical child. I have seen parents seeking advice from everything from sensory regulation, to IEPs, to parent self-care. 

Professionally, it helps me to see others being open about their disabilities in the workplace. It’s not something to hide behind. Disability is not a dirty word. I see my fellow U Krewers embracing themselves and it inspires me to do so as well. 

Nurturing authenticity: I am so proud of my son and the way my husband and I are raising him. He is the sweetest little boy who we are teaching to be unapologetically himself. He is so full of love and laughter and everything we do is to make sure that he is happy. 

Unlocking the unseen: I can’t speak to the struggles of having a visible disability, but I can speak to the struggles of invisible disabilities. I would like to encourage my fellow U Krewers to educate themselves. We may look “normal” to you, but our brains work fundamentally differently. I’m not ignoring your Teams message; I’m trying to finish the task I’m on before responding so I don’t lose my focus. I’m not paying attention when I ask you to repeat something, I’m trying to make sure I fully absorb what’s being said. I’m not being rude if I don’t look at you when you’re talking, I’m focusing on listening to what you’re saying. I’m not being anti-social if I have headphones on, I’m trying to keep myself focused on my work. I’m not trying to be rude if I don’t want to small-talk, I value deeper connections.

I’m not being rude if I don’t look at you when you’re talking, I’m focusing on listening to what you’re saying. I’m not being anti-social if I have headphones on, I’m trying to keep myself focused on my work. 

–Kaleigh G.

Family and mentorship: I lean on my family and close friends for most of my personal support needs. I value deep and meaningful relationships over anything surface-level, so if you are in my life, we are in it together. 

I turn to my mom for support in the workplace. She was a single mother who worked her way up to be the Director of WIC for the Boston area. She finished her degrees all while raising two girls by herself and maintaining her career. My mom has taught me how to be assertive and independent while also being kind. She is a true inspiration for what it means to be a woman and a mother in the workplace. 

Amplifying diverse voices: UKG makes me proud that they are seeking the voices that need to be heard. My team listens and wants to understand my son and his needs to better support me; this means the world to me. All I have ever wanted is for the world to know more about autism and neurodiversity in general so that different does not equal bad. I grew up knowing I was different, but I learned from my peers to mask anything that wasn’t viewed as typical behavior. While I always struggled with anxiety, I never knew the things I had masked my whole life were neurodivergent until my son was diagnosed as autistic. I would research signs and traits of autism and think, well that’s not different—I do that. As I learned more about autism and ADHD, I recognized things in myself.  

Alyssa F., Lead Solution Consultant

Navigating dyslexia as an employee and parent: I have been with UKG since February 2020. I am a proud member of two of our ERG’s, ADAPT and NEST. I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was 17 years old. I knew something was wrong when I saw and read words differently growing up. I could read to myself fine in my head and was an A/B student, but when I read aloud, it was horrible. I couldn’t pronounce what I was reading aloud, and my spelling was beyond recognition when I wrote anything. I finally got a diagnosis when I couldn’t get an average score on my SAT test. I advocated for myself in my junior year of high school because I was not able to get into the college of my choice because my SAT score was so low.  

Not only do I have dyslexia, but my teenage son Steven was also diagnosed with dyslexia when he was 6 years old. As a parent of a special needs student, I worked to advocate for Steven throughout his school years. If you suspect a child in your life has a reading disability, get the child evaluated as early as possible. The earlier the diagnosis, the more successful the child will be. My son Steven is proof of that statement as his dyslexia does not affect his daily life. 

If you suspect a child in your life has a reading disability, get the child evaluated as early as possible. The earlier the diagnosis, the more successful the child will be. 

–Alyssa F.

Thriving in harmony: I love working for UKG, as my professional life blends right into my personal life since I work from home. Since the formation of the ERGs at UKG, I feel so much more comfortable sharing my disability and issues that I am having in my home life. The groups have allowed open discussions on topics that are not usually discussed at work. Everyone that I have worked with has an awareness of disabilities and I believe this is because of the way UKG celebrates differences! 

Empowering accessibility: UKG has an ADA team that you can speak to about any accommodations you need to be made. Also, I have been allowed to download any software or browser extensions needed to get my job done.

Advice for candidates: If you’re interviewing with UKG and feel comfortable, be honest about your disability. 

My ERG journey: ADAPT has been so powerful for me as a U Krewer. The events they run are invaluable. We get to hear from Special Olympics champions, dyslexia experts, and U Krewer panels on dealing with disabilities in the workplace. 

Empowering others: Since joining ADAPT, I have been more open about my disabilities to my team. I have since become a mentor to a few employees who have dyslexia because they heard my story and reached out. It’s been great!

Accessibility tips: Accessibility is so important during my workday. At UKG, we use Microsoft products such as Teams and Outlook. Microsoft has incorporated a learning tool called Immersive Reader within their programs. Immersive Reader implements techniques to improve reading and writing for people, regardless of their age or ability.

Additionally, here are seven Chrome extensions for those with dyslexia. These are all free to download

  • Read&Write: Tools to help students with dyslexia with reading, writing, and research, such as text-to-speech with color highlight, picture dictionaries that provide visual illustrations of words, speech-to-text dictation, and more.
  • Helperbird: More than 20 features to help learners with dyslexia, such as text features (specialized fonts for reading, dyslexia fonts, word and letter spacing), content features (reader mode, Microsoft Immersive Reader, highlighter, picture dictionary, screenshot function, word prediction), and more.
  • Snap&Read: Ideal for struggling readers; includes features such as read aloud, dynamic text leveling, translation (supports 100+ languages), study tools, remove distractions, and more.
  • Mercury Reader: Removes ads and distractions from any page and provides readers with a clean reading view, including adjusting typeface and text size, printing optimization, and sharing through social media.
  • BeeLine Reader: Helps students with dyslexia enjoy their reading experience using a color gradient that guides their eyes as they read. This simple tweak makes reading easier and faster because it allows you to transition between lines quickly and effortlessly.
  • OpenDyslexic for Chrome: A Chrome font to help readers with dyslexia. Once installed, it overrides the existing fonts in a web page and formats pages using OpenDyslexic font.
  • Read Aloud: A Text to Speech Voice Reader: Uses text-to-speech (TTS) technology to convert webpage text to audio.