Global accessibility and inclusion programme of a multinational pharmaceutical company
- Access Lilly
- Eli Lilly
- Country of Implementation
- United States of America
- North America
- Start Year
- First published
“Making life better is at the core of what we do and that includes removing barriers to accessibility.” Darren Rowan, Program Manager, Eli Lilly
Eli Lilly, a US-based multinational pharmaceutical company, launched the Access Lilly programme in 2020 as part of its global disability strategy. The programme initially had four workstreams focused on (1) accessibility and inclusive design in the company’s facilities; (2) information and digital solutions; (3) training; and (4) corporate communication. In addition, by autumn 2021 it intends to add (5) human resources and (6) procurement. To date, more than 3,500 employees had used the internal accessibility resources website.
Mainstreaming accessibility and disability inclusion in a large multinational company requires a comprehensive approach.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The goal of Access Lilly is to create a disability-confident company culture that enables a barrier-free environment for employees and customers. In its first phase, Access Lilly had four workstreams focused on (1) accessibility and inclusive design in the company’s facilities; (2) information and digital solutions; (3) learning and development activities; and (4) corporate communications. Programme implementation is supported by: (a) the Lilly Design System, a collection of standards for designing digital products; (b) the Facilities Assessment Tool, used to audit facilities; and (c) the Accessibility Champions Community, a group of employees that champion disability inclusion in their respective teams. By 2021 the company had conducted 20 facility audits in eight countries, and 130 websites had been created using the Lilly Design System. As examples of achievements, Eli Lilly has renovated a large cafeteria at the headquarters, redesigned over 100 building access maps, added QR codes for online navigation, and made its priority online global training courses accessible.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Improvements under the Access Lilly workstreams are funded from existing operating expenses. For more significant investments, the cost is covered in the company’s standard business planning process. In the second half of 2021 phase two of the programme started, which will last three years. Eli Lilly will add human resources and procurement as additional workstreams and make structural changes to its buildings. The company will spend approximately $10 million in capital investment on the Access Lilly programme, of which a majority will be dedicated towards the built environment.