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Accelerating disability inclusion at work

/ 05:03 AM November 30, 2019

Last July, Accenture in the Philippines opened its suite of accessibility solutions, a dedicated space equipped with assistive technologies that address vision, hearing and mobility impairment. Our employees are able to test and find the technologies that best suit their needs. I also had the privilege of sharing this initiative at the first Philippine Accessibility Summit and at various conferences, where we received significant interest and encouraging feedback.

This initiative underscores Accenture’s unwavering commitment to inclusion and diversity, particularly for our differently-abled talent. We recognize that persons with disabilities have valuable roles and contribution to a company’s success. We believe that a more inclusive and diverse environment drives innovation.

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According to Accenture’s “Getting to Equal: Disability Inclusion Advantage” research, on average, companies that are championing disability inclusion achieved 28 percent higher revenue, double the net income and 30 percent higher economic profit margins from 2015-2018. Companies are not merely compliant or acting out of perceived obligation to hire persons with disabilities, but are embracing the advantages that come with having more creative and well-rounded people. Persons with disabilities adapt and develop problem-solving skills, agility, persistence and a willingness to learn and experiment, all essential for innovation.

How can we build an inclusive workplace that welcomes everyone and promotes equality? Accenture offers four actions for attracting and advancing diverse talent, particularly people who may be differently-abled but are uniquely skilled to help drive successful businesses.

FEATURED STORIES

Employ: Organizations must ensure that persons with disabilities are represented in the workplace. The country’s Republic Act No. 10524 calls for equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. It requires that at least 1 percent of all positions in government offices be reserved for persons with disabilities, while private corporations with more than 100 employees are encouraged to allot at least 1 percent of all positions for people who are differently-abled.

Driven by our commitment to become the most inclusive and diverse employer in the local information technology and business process management industry, Accenture is proud to employ persons with disabilities above this mandate at more than 4 percent of our local workforce.

Enable: Leaders must provide employees with disabilities with accessible tools and technologies and a formal accommodations program.

Our suite of accessibility solutions offers tools and technologies such as: various types of headphones and bone conduction ear pieces to address hearing impairment; color contrast and Braille-stickered keyboards, electronic magnifier and nonvisual desktop access, and voice control technologies for the vision-impaired; and manual and automatic wheelchairs, medical walkers and adjustable tables to address impairment in mobility.

Engage: To foster an inclusive culture throughout the organization, we must focus on awareness-building through recruitment efforts, disability education programs and grassroots-led activities.

Our employees undergo sensitivity trainings that offer guidance to effectively integrate their fellow employees with disabilities in the workplace so that everyone can perform at their full potential. Accenture has also fitted our recruitment centers in Alabang and Cebu with assistive technologies. At the onset, potential employees are able to test and assess tools that can best enable them.

Empower: We should offer mentoring and coaching initiatives, as well as reskilling programs to ensure that persons with disabilities continue to grow and succeed.

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As a people-focused company, Accenture is committed to the upskilling of our employees across our facilities in Manila, Cebu and Ilocos. It is the company’s ambition to be the preferred home of the best talent in the world, and that there should be no barrier to uncovering capability due to a disability.

The new frontier of corporate citizenship. Organizations that lead inclusive innovation will set the tone for workplaces and cities and are better positioned to have their initiatives emerge as industry standards.

We hope that by sharing our inclusion and diversity practices, we will open doors for greater collaboration between the private and public sectors, and pave the way for a new frontier of corporate citizenship through a sustained disability inclusion program in the country.

Lito Tayag is the country managing director of Accenture in the Philippines. He is also the corporate citizenship lead of Accenture in Asean.

Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club ([email protected]).

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