To consolidate all that was discussed on the Willis Towers Watson’s Workability Inclusion Network (WIN) Summit last Wednesday, October 24, 2018, Anderson Group BPO Inc. created a Disability Inclusion Framework that compiles lessons learned from various speakers from the event. See our coverage of the speakers here and partners here.
If you want your company to adopt a PWD-inclusive work environment, here are the main things to consider in creating your company’s Disability Inclusion Framework
1. Philippine Laws and Company Policies
- RA 9442: Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, and for other Purposes
- The objective of RA 9442 is to provide equal opportunities to PWDs as stated in the policy of RA 7277. This means that the state should provide full support such as granting them at least 20% discount in all basic services as well as receiving retirement benefits which will be updated according to the current scale enjoyed by those in active service. For more information about this, click here.
- BP 344: An Act to Enhance the Mobility of Disabled Persons
- This act simply states that establishments shall have architectural facilities assisting persons with disabilities such as sidewalks, ramps, railings, etc. To read more of the inclusions in this act, click here.
- RA 10070: Establishing Institutional Mechanism to Ensure the Implementations of Programs and Services for PWDs
- This ensures that the regulations concerning persons with disabilities are implemented across all provinces, cities, and municipalities. To know more about this, click here.
- BIR Revenue Regulations #08-93 Jan 29, 1993
- Employers, as well as donors to government agencies and organizations supporting disabled persons, are entitled to tax incentives. A more elaborate explanation of this is in here.
- Implementing internal Company D&I Policy (global and local)
2. Corporate Social Responsibility
- UN Sustainability Goals #10 – Reduced Inequalities
- United Nations CRPD (Art. 27, Right to Work & Employment)
- Leonard Cheshire
- Autism Society Philippines
- School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies De La Salle College of St. Benilde
- Grain Foundation
3. Data Availability
- Number of current company PWD employees
- Types of disabilities of company PWD employees
- Consultation with PWDs
Challenge # 1: Due to the discrimination they face, PWDs may not be willing to share their “disabilities” and may avoid the subject.
There are multiple types of disabilities both physical and mental. Some are observable, but some are invisible. This is a problem as PWDs are the ones who can best speak for themselves. However, as part of their right to privacy, companies cannot legally draw conclusions and label a person unless the PWD voluntarily comes forward to admit their disability.
To solve this hesitation and lack of access to existing PWD company population data, the Diversity and Inclusivity can create an internal community support group on top of their culture inclusivity training. They must also assure employee confidentiality for those who are still uncomfortable to go public. This will help create an embracing culture that would promote openness and trust between PWDs and their coworkers.
4. Safety, Facilities, Technology
- Ensure workplace is PWD-friendly and ready
- Consult with PWDs within the company
Challenge # 2: According to Abardo, the rest of the buildings built in the government and the private sectors are only 20 to 60 percent compliant to the Batas Pambansa No. 344 and Republic Act No. 7277 laws supporting PWDs.
There are only two buildings in the Philippines that are fully compliant to the Accessibility Law of 1983 for PWD-friendly structures. This is in a statement by the Quezon City chapter president of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), Erico Abardo.
This makes it hard for Philippine companies to keep their office spaces compliant. Since industry practices are gearing towards an inclusive workplace and the job demand is only expected to rise, it is only smart to rethink the workplace to have room for more people while also accessing a wider pool of human resources. Knowing the types of disabilities to support may help the company set up their spaces. Consult the PWDs within the company because they know what they need best.
5. Awareness and Training
- Disability Orientation
- Disability Sensitivity Training
- Forums: external and expert speakers
- PWD-inclusive languages
- Training for HR, leaders and team members
- Disability-specific programs
Challenge # 3: Normalizing a Diverse Culture
“There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person more” is a quote by Robert Hensel that painfully points out where many societies fail. Culture is always difficult to change. Startups have great prospects of developing an open culture by starting from the very beginning, with awareness programs (facts), a supportive work environment (simulations), and management training (assistance/support).
However, for established work environments, the best place to start normalizing PWD culture is to create a support group for PWDs to get together and feel open. Then gradually, this openness will give them the confidence they need to speak about their experiences beyond their circle. This develops a self-declaration system that could give government-issued PWD card incentives processed by the company. Once coworkers realize how many PWDs are working among their numbers, they become familiar with the reality and misconceptions disappear.
6. Talent Acquisition
- PWD inclusive messaging, processes, forms, interview approaches
- Job matching
- Consult with PWDs
Challenge # 4: Sustainability
The entire point of going through the strategy, of taking over a year of planning, and the effort to convince investors that the Inclusivity program is worth it banks on its sustainability. It is undeniable that a workplace inclusivity program is costly. The proof that it is a worthy investment is tied with the ability to demonstrate exactly how it is sustainable. This is the main challenge of adopting the inclusivity program and must be at the forefront of coming up with its strategy.
There is no better way to put it. The best practice for awareness and persuading hiring managers to get the buy-in needed for the company to be involved in a PWD inclusivity program is dependent on top management. Most speakers in the event are personally involved in the movement. Thus the best person to approach is a business decision-maker who has a high awareness of diversity and inclusion programs, with an openness to it in terms of culture and willing to invest the skills needed for its launch.
Know more about creating an inclusive workplace and check out our latest blogs!