With more companies acknowledging the concept of inclusivity, Rehna Abdul Kareem speaks to some organisations about creating a conducive work environment for people with special needs.
With everyone in a big hurry to get somewhere, we fail to understand that there are people who may not be able to function the same way that we do. While the topic is unknown to most people, ‘Inclusivity’ is a concept that has been around for many years but due to lack of awareness only a handful of companies, corporates and organisations have adopted its principles. The physically challenged individuals find daily functions like commuting to work, moving inside work precincts and getting employment opportunities a herculean task. Companies now adopt inclusivity principles to facilitate them.
“Before companies hire physically challenged people, they should keep in mind accessibility or reach, reaching their office/desk, toilet accessibility, manoeuvring of wheelchair or whichever assistive device they are using and of course ensuring sensitivity of the other employees and orientation for them,” says Ritika Sahni, founder trustee, Trinayini, a Mumbai-based NGO started in 2006 which works towards disability awareness and support .
Capgemini India’s inclusion programme was started in 2012 to provide a non-discriminatory environment to persons with disabilities. It aims at enabling an inclusive environment through the employee life cycle (hire to retire), for each to feel and be a part of the organisation. The programme takes a four-pronged approach for achieving the inclusion charter — accessibility, career, engagement, and evangelism.
Accessibility involves accessible infrastructure, IT systems and reasonable accommodation. Career focuses on non-discriminatory recruitment process, training and HR policies. Engagement highlights sensitisation, cultural change and towards building an inclusive organisation. Evangelism, the last aspect promotes inclusion in the society through industry and customer connect.
Capgemini has redefined its HR policies and processes to ensure no discrimination against people with disabilities.
In addition, every new joiner to Capgemini undergoes a sensitisation program as part of their induction which covers disability awareness and disability etiquette training.
Head-Human Recourses, Capgemini India
Flextronics is a company that hires orthopaedically-challenged employees who mainly man processes that involve production activities such as final assembly and packing of mobile phone chargers. In addition, the inclusive employees also provide shared services / back-end office support such as finance, IT, supply chain, engineering, HR and admin. Many hold good positions in the company such as Finance (General Ledger) Manager, Sr. IT Developer, Buyer and others. To ensure their success at the workplace, the company provides on-the-job training for the specially-abled. The company believes that by employing specially-abled individuals, they are able to demonstrate their tangible commitment towards building communities inside and outside of Flextronics with respect and dignity thus increasing their employer value proposition. Flextronics takes the personal approach by inviting their family to attend the orientation day, and also meet the technical trainer, welfare officer and HR partner. A “buddy” is also assigned to the specially-abled employee during this session.
Senior Director and Head of Human Resources, South Asia, Flextronics
IDBI is a public sector bank that has given priority to corporate social responsibility (CSR) where the inclusive society needs to benefit through jobs. To facilitate this, the organisation has created reservations for them. Quiz them on how it has helped the organisations and they say that the presence of a differently-abled person in this branch has helped the bank to have a better image of being an employee-friendly organisation.
Branch Head, Ambattur, IDBI Bank
Krea, which is into healthcare research and data collection, has been supporting inclusivity for over two years. Krea has created a separate division, CAN DO, provides telephone as well as computer skills. It provides training, employment and skills development for the differently-abled, to provide an opportunity for them to be financially independent.
The initiative also seeks to have a more inclusive work environment.
The aim to is to increase the employability pool for people with disabilities. CAN DO’s goal is to have at least 100 people trained and employable in the next one year. Although Krea had initial teething problems with associates getting used to people with disabilities, the issues were ironed out.
The people are provided adequate training and are paid market rates. Therefore, the services will also be at market rates, states the company.
Sai Bakery (a Neighbourhood Initiative for Special Adults) works with all who have any kind of developmental disabilities. They also employ physically challenged persons who are hearing, verbal or visually impaired, also lacking in motor skills and those who are orthopedically disabled. Sai Bakery (S.A.I – Society All Inclusive) was conceived of and run by D.O.R.A.I Foundation that stands for ‘Development’ and ‘Opportunities’.
Hands-on training was provided in the different areas baking, actual production and then marketing, ensures that the team now knows them all. Each one is assigned relevant tasks based on their individual strength and skill. Baking is just one of the areas that Sai Bakery involves the youngsters in. Other fields include yoga, exercises, newspaper reading, general knowledge sessions, outdoor games and outing – all programmed to improve their general outlook on life.