Leverage on an untapped talent pool
Persons with disabilities can bring the needed skills and contribute meaningfully when companies focus on their abilities and the job match is done right. They have done well in companies from a variety of industries, in both the public and private sectors.
Hiring them could also lead to increased productivity and lower turnover. Accenture’s market research in 2018 revealed that companies leading in disability inclusion had, on average, higher revenue and profit margins.
Staff turnover also reduced from 50% to 5% between 2015 and 2018 at United Overseas Bank’s (UOB) Scan Hub, which is the bank’s nerve centre for checking, digitising and archiving customer documents. This was after UOB adopted job redesign, making adjustments to work processes and responsibilities. About 30% of the team consists of persons with autism or hearing impairment.
Gain new perspectives
Many persons with disabilities have had to adapt and make adjustments to overcome various challenges in their lives. They could bring innovative thinking, offer unique perspectives, and also propose ideas on how to make the business more inclusive for its customers. For instance, Alister Ong works in Singtel’s Group Sustainability department, and his role includes looking at how Singtel’s retail stores can be made more accessible to persons with disabilities, and benchmarking the company’s sustainability efforts.
“Greater workforce diversity can also guard against groupthink, and foster innovation and creativity.”
— Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development
Improve the work culture and facilities
As employees interact with colleagues with disabilities, they become more accepting of one another’s differences and strengths, develop more empathy and have a deeper appreciation of how everyone can contribute to the organisation’s success.
Co-workers also stand to benefit when reasonable accommodations such as flexi-work schemes and workplace modifications (e.g. ramps and automatic sliding doors) are introduced for persons with disabilities.
Enhance company image
As socially-responsible consumption gains traction, disability-inclusive employment practices can enhance a company’s brand image. Existing employees may also feel more proud and committed to companies with strong corporate social responsibility efforts.
Siloso Beach Resort, one of two winners of the Leader Award at SG Enable’s 5th Enabling Employers Awards, also proudly mentions its workplace diversity and career opportunities for persons with disabilities on its website, in-room TV channel and other platforms.
Empower and enable lives
Not only does employment provide persons with disabilities a stable income and more financial independence, it boosts their confidence and contributes to their sense of self-worth. Employment can give people, including persons with disabilities, a sense of identity, purpose and social connectedness.
“It goes beyond a job. We are also improving and enriching their lives beyond the workplace, like their social skills, motor skills etc. I think that’s a very nice thing – impact beyond the workplace.”
– Mr Nadi Chan, Director of Foreword Coffee, an inclusive employer