When MOH Holdings (MOHH) began expanding its team recently , it also started thinking about how it could build an inclusive workforce.
“We were growing quite significantly in terms of strength and had more types of jobs. Due to this growth, we wanted to see if we could have different sources of manpower,” said Mr Tan Kwang Cheak, Director of Human Resources and Talent Development Division at MOHH.
Anxious to make sure that they were thoroughly ready to accept persons with disabilities, the first-time employer approached Autism Resource Centre and Singapore National Employer’s Federation in early 2013 to work out what was needed to be done.
Working together with the two organisations helped MOHH to look into how jobs could be re-designed to suit the persons with disabilities they planned to hire. For instance, some work processes were tweaked to optimise work performance. MOHH also ensured that the communication flow between the employees with disabilities and co-workers remained smooth.
Three candidates who were to start work at MOHH were then put through a two-week training at Pathlight School to go through actual work processes involving real documents.
Areas in the office were even revamped to accommodate employees with disabilities, for instance making it clear and accessible for them to go to their seating area.
“We wanted to re-design processes to best suit the three candidates who were starting with us. We needed to be prepared. They are coming in as members of the team and are expected to contribute. We must give them careers, not jobs,” declared Mr Tan, who also assigned work buddies to them.
Such efforts have paid off.
One of the three employees, Thinesh s/o Jayakumar, 25, says his confidence has grown since starting work.
“In the beginning, I will talk to my work buddy about all the work doubts and she will explain in detail. Now, I have started being independent,” he said.
Apart from the three candidates, MOHH has also made arrangements for one another employee with disability to work from home. This is possible as his work involves a lot of research, according to Mr Tan. So far, it has gone well that they are looking to make his role permanent, he added.
Moving forward, the management would start thinking about how to create a career path for them by looking at their performance and determining what they are able to do.
“I find them amazing. Yes, communicating with them initially was a little slow. But now, it has improved a lot. They are now more comfortable in their work environment. It has been an extremely positive experience as an employer, and we have gained three valuable members of the team who are very productive,” he said.