India Inc plays a pivotal role in helping people from all walks of life, including persons with disabilities, realize their inalienable rights and the equal opportunities that they have to innovate. Organizations have, over the years, made a conscious effort towards enabling people with disabilities at the workplace – including in a hybrid setup during the pandemic. This focus is no longer merely for driving inclusivity but also to encourage diverse ideas and thoughts.
For International Day of PwD, we reached out to industry thought-leaders to understand how their companies are enabling PwD talent.
Ruhi Ranjan, Inclusion & Diversity Sponsor, Accenture in India
“Across the world, there are over a billion people who experience some form of visible or invisible disability, and the entire ecosystem needs to do more to boost their participation in the workforce.
At Accenture, we continue to strengthen our long-standing commitment of hiring and growing persons with disabilities. Each of our businesses has a dedicated recruitment team focused on persons with disabilities. We partner with specialized external organisations, participate in niche job fairs, have a robust employee referral program to boost hiring, and run a six-month long Inclusive Internship program to build a skilled talent pool in this segment.
We are equally focused on strengthening a culture of equality where our people with disabilities feel included and can thrive. We give our people access to a range of technologies and accessibility enablement such as assistive devices and technologies, ergonomic support, flex work arrangements, sign language interpreters and more to create a barrier-free workplace. Our progressive medical insurance program supports enablement such as assistive devices. Our workplace applications and platforms are developed to be accessible by design.
In order to help our persons with disabilities build fulfilling careers, we leverage a customized career path framework that identifies various interventions required at various stages of their career at Accenture and builds levers to create a level playing field. For example, our ‘Abilities Unleashed’ program helps our persons with disabilities become authentic leaders and effective role models through capability development and mentoring.
We encourage open dialogue about disabilities, inclusion and accessibility and drive sensitization to eliminate bias. Our network of more than 35,000 Persons with Disabilities Champions across the world plays a key role in evangelisation of PwD inclusion.”
Shweta Mohanty, Head – HR, SAP Labs India.
“At SAP, we have always been committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment where people with disabilities have access to equal opportunities. We believe that by focusing on people’s strengths rather than their differences, we are well positioned to deliver on SAP’s vision to help the world developed run better and improve lives. Bringing on board a diverse talent not just broadens our workforce strength, but also helps us drive innovation at scale.
As an example, our ‘Autism at Work’ program highlights the valuable skill sets that people with autism can offer and create an impact. With support from our local partners, we were able to integrate Autism at Work into the mainstream company processes and able to achieve ~90% retention of the employees in the program. Not only do we hire, but through the Autism support circle, an eco-system of coaching, mentoring and holistic growth and inclusion of each individual is established to ensure sustained scalability. As one of the first corporates in India to introduce such an initiative, we look forward to taking precedence in the conversations around inclusion of people with disabilities at workplace. We realize that empathy and openness can help us become not just a better company, but also a successful one.
Over the years, our eyes have been continuously opened to more possibilities than originally anticipated by witnessing the contributions of our Autism at Work employees at SAP. Our colleagues have filed for patents, dramatically redesigned processes, represented in the UN, and attained countless other achievements.
We go beyond hiring numbers to measure success of our diversity efforts as inclusion is about being belonged and respected. We conduct sensitization sessions for our employees to be more aware of the concerns of the differently abled. We have conducted an accessibility audit and made the necessary infrastructural changes to ensure an Accessible and Inclusive environment. We encourage the teams to use ALT Text to ensure colleagues with visual disability understand image in an email.
At SAP, we continuously strive to ensure that all our facilities, technologies, information and privileges are accessible to people with disabilities. Our Equal Opportunity Policy ensures we have the framework, processes, and leadership commitment to ensure a fair and equal workplace for All”
Rohit Ramanand, Vice President – Engineering, Walmart Global Tech
“At Walmart, we have a vision of a workplace culture where associates with unique identities, abilities and perspectives are understood, supported, and championed by their leaders. Dignity and respect are the foundation of how we care for one another in the organization. We support this through a holistic strategy that includes activating our culture across the enterprise; integrating the principles of Culture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion into every facet of the associate life cycle; building an inclusive brand both inside and outside of our company; increasing equity and accessibility within our business; and modernizing the measurements we use to report our progress.
At Walmart Global Tech (WGT) in India, our unique Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) such as ‘wCare’ play a pivotal role in building an inclusive workplace for all. ‘wCare’ helps foster a supportive environment with and for people whose lives have been touched by disabilities so that they can reach their true potential. As a human-led, tech-empowered organization, accessibility is a critical part of creating equity within WGT and we have focused on offering best-in-class workplace infrastructure and benefits, keeping in mind the diverse needs of our associates. Key among them is providing enhanced coverage for critical illnesses through top-up plans and sponsoring home and vehicle modification for associates with disabilities. Equally important is our commitment to build a culture of inclusion that is based on awareness, acceptance, and action by continuing to educate our larger workforce, break biases, and empower people with disabilities.”
Sandhya Ramesh, Lead – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Great Place To Work
“For centuries now, Persons with Disabilities (PwD’s) have been trying to find a space in Indian societies where able-bodied individuals view and treat them as contributing citizens of the country. Although average PwD representation continues to be less than 1% in the organized sector, organizations who have consistently invested in disability inclusion have been able to experience improvements like larger talent pools, enhanced productivity, better experience for both employees and customers as well as improved mechanisms to manage conflicts, strikes and lockouts. PwDs who have been part of workplaces report that the top challenges they face are; barrier-free physical and digital infrastructure, judgement-free workplace and fair promotions and growth.”