Employee Wellness

Enable And Empower: 4 Ways To Make Your Company Inclusive For Persons With Disabilities

In the Asia-Pacific region alone there are 370 million persons with disabilities (PWD), with 238 million of them of working age, according to data from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Hiring people with disabilities increases diversity in the workplace, which has been proven to boost creative thinking, problem-solving, and team morale. 

Unfortunately, people with disabilities commonly experience at work. According to a report by the International Labour Organization, PWDs are often confronted with prejudices regarding their productivity. They also face discrimination at the hiring stage. A survey carried out in France shows that less than 2% of those having mentioned their disability in their CV were called for an interview. 

For Ed Geronia, a journalist, person with mobility impairment, and co-founder and Chief Information Officer of Sari Software Solutions making workplaces welcoming and supportive of the needs of persons with disabilities is a win-win for everyone in the organization. “Everyone benefits from an inclusive workplace, not just those with a disability,” he says. This is because when employees feel a sense of belonging and feel more connected at work, they tend to work harder and smarter, producing higher quality work. 

“PWDs should know that they can earn as much as an able-bodied team member if they are doing the same kind of work.”

Ed Geronia, journalist

Ed recommends some ways companies can make sure that their workplace is disability-inclusive:

  1. Review and refine job roles and processes. Part of this means ensuring that you hire someone based on the job qualifications, not on the basis of their disability. “There’s this notion that people with autism are good at math, so you made it a company policy that you will only hire those in the spectrum for accounting work,” Ed points out. But doing this is a disservice for both the PWD applicant and the other members of the team because you are basing your decision on a stereotype. “People should be hired solely for their capabilities, skills, and talent.”

Furthermore, don’t deny a person a training or promotion just because they are disabled. “Don’t tell someone who is mobility-impaired that you cannot make them manager because you assume they cannot travel to different work sites,” Ed says. “Instead, tell them what the position entails and let them determine if they can do it or not.”

Finally, make sure that your benefits and incentives for employees are the same for all. “PWDs should know that they can earn as much as an able-bodied team member if they are doing the same kind of work,” Ed says.

  1. Partner with community organizations that train persons with disabilities to be ready for employment. In the Philippines, these include:
  • Project Inclusion Network, a non-profit organization that matches PWDs to employers. 
  • IDEA Philippines, which offers vocational training for deaf young people 
  • Microsoft Enabler Program, provides cloud & AI training for PwDs, accessibility education for employer partners, and inclusive hiring from non-profit organizations supporting PwDs.
  1. Have disability awareness and disability sensitivity training. Start by training someone in your human resources department to be a disability advocate. “This way, you have someone in the company who is looking out for the needs of your employees who have disabilities, both visible and invisible,” Ed says. Then move on to the rest of your management team; many might be harboring unconscious biases against people with disabilities and consider these team members inferior. “You have to treat these trainings as investments, because when you know the needs of your employees who are disabled, you can take steps to make things better for them,” he adds.
  2. Adopt best practices from other companies. “In the Philippines, we have to realize that there are still gaps in PWD employment policies,” Ed points out. “Let’s look for companies who are embracing inclusivity and find out what we can copy from them.” 

For example, Philippine-based Lamoiyan Corporation, makers of Hapee Toothpaste, prioritizes hiring deaf employees for factory work. “If it’s just manual, if it’s just using the hands or the eyes, they’re as good as you and me—in fact, they’re more focused because of their handicap,” founder Cecilio Pedro said in a 2016 interview. The company is also supporting three schools for the deaf in the country, where they provide free education for the deaf through sign language.

A disability-inclusive workplace is more than just hiring people with disabilities. It offers employees with disabilities — whether visible or invisible — an equal opportunity to succeed, to learn, to be compensated fairly, and to advance. “Many organizations are already starting to adopt policies on gender equality,” Ed points out. “Why not take it a step further and also include equality for PWDs?” 

MindNation offers virtual trainings on diversity and inclusion so that your organization becomes a safe space for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, race, and physical and mental disabilities. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit to know more.

Employee Wellness

Everyone At The Table: 3 Ways To A More Diverse And Inclusive Workplace

Promoting and improving diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace no longer just means hiring more women in the company or allocating a prayer room for your Muslim team members. These are good first steps but much more needs to be done if you want to create a workplace that respects the unique needs, perspectives, and potential of everyone. 

D&I explained

Simply put, diversity in the workplace means that the company hires a wide range of diverse individuals — people of various race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.

Inclusion, on the other hand, is the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. Inclusion is about putting diversity into action.

“Unconscious bias in the workplace impacts our recruitment decisions, employee development, impairing diversity and retention rates, as well as promoting a disconnected culture.”

Salma Sakr, MindNation Chief Growth Officer

Benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace

Equitable employers benefit in the following ways:

  1. They gain deeper trust and more commitment from their employees.
  2. Diversity and inclusion can enhance the problem-solving necessary to rethink businesses and reimagine industries in the face of unprecedented disruption.
  3. More diverse teams are better at anticipating changes in consumer needs and buying patterns, which can lead to more rapid product and service innovation.
  4. All of the above positively contribute to the company’s bottom line.

Putting it into practice

D&I has become a buzz word that many companies use for good PR, but genuine D&I requires effort, dedication, and consistency. Here are 3 ways you can make it happen in your company:

  1. Be aware of unconscious bias.
    Unconscious bias (or implicit bias) is often defined as prejudice or unsupported judgments in favor of or against one thing, person, or group as compared to another, in a way that is usually considered unfair.

Unconscious bias in the workplace impacts our recruitment decisions, employee development, impairing diversity and retention rates, as well as promoting a disconnected culture. 

Organizations who make an effort to address unconscious bias in order to develop and maintain an inclusive workforce enjoy the following benefits:

  1. Increasing company profitability: Teams that have solid problem-solving and decision-making skills can bring a competitive advantage to a company. For example, a McKinsey study found that gender-diverse companies were 21% more likely to gain above-average profitability.
  2. They are more attractive to top talent: By implementing inclusive recruitment strategies, companies are able to reach out to a wider talent pool. Job seekers would also be more likely to apply to companies that prioritize diversity.
  3. Increasing innovation: Diverse teams can bring a variety of fresh ideas to the table, allowing teams to come up with creative solutions that can drive sales. For example, a 2018 study by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies with diverse management teams bring 19% higher innovation revenue.
  4. Higher productivity: University research found that tech firms with diverse management teams have 1.32 times higher levels of productivity. Increased productivity can lead to more efficient project management and implementation.
  5. Higher employee engagement: This can lead to higher job satisfaction, which in turn, can lower the turnover rate.
  6. Making fair and more efficient business decisions: Inclusive teams can make better business decisions up to 87% of the time. These business decisions can help improve a company’s performance and revenue. 

2. Be an ally. This is a critical next step and involves the participation of everyone at work regardless of their title, i.e. whether you are a manager or not. Here are three things you can do if you see an injustice at work, a bias being played out, or a team member in an uncomfortable or even scarring situation: 

Step 1: Point it out using language such as 

“I noticed that…”
“It seems like…”

“It feels to me like…”

Step 2: Avoid making assumptions. Instead, clarify it with the person involved, such as by asking “Did I read that right?”

Then validate it by using language such as“I want to acknowledge how challenging this is…”

Step 3: Work it out together by sharing your intention to help and to develop a plan to problem solve together. 

3. Encourage team identification. High team identification is when members identify themselves as part of a group and feel proud to be a part of it, when they feel that they are not working against each other, but for the same team, and they have the same future, goals, and vision. The higher the collective team identification, the more likely team members feel positively about diversity and are therefore more collaborative and successful. To do this, you need to make sure that people are not merely members of different social categories such as gender or race, but to emphasise the distinctiveness of each individual. 

By following these relatively simple steps you can really make a difference to your employees’ lives and shape the effect of diversity for the greater.

MindNation offers webinars to train your managers on how to foster more diversity and inclusion in the workplace so that you build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Email hello[email protected] to schedule a session now!

Employee Wellness Get Inspired Mental Health 101 Work in the New Normal

8 Ways To Improve Diversity And Inclusion In Your Workplace

A diverse and inclusive team positively impacts creativity, innovation, and the company’s bottomline 

Workplace diversity refers to a company that employs people of varying characteristics, such as gender, age, religion, race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, languages, education, abilities, etc. Such a team brings diverse viewpoints and perspectives to the organization, all of which can help you develop great new products or services and ways to cater to customers. 

Partner with MindNation to build a workplace that is respectful and inclusive for all. Email [email protected] now.

A diverse workforce has many direct and tangible benefits, such as:

  • Higher revenue. Companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue.
  • More innovation. Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
  • Better decision-making. When diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time.
  • Higher rates of job acceptance. 67% of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers.
  • Better performance than competitors. Racially and ethnically diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%.

Hiring a diverse team, however, is just the first step to success. The next thing to do is to create an inclusive culture, one where people from all backgrounds feel welcome. Inclusivity can contribute fully to the organization’s success, and is the key to maintaining diversity in the workplace. 

Below are ways you can support inclusion and diversity in your workplace: 

  1. Make sure your management team models diversity and inclusion. The makeup of your top executives speaks volumes about your culture and sends a strong message not just to your employees but also to customers, partners, and shareholders . Are men and women equally represented? What about people from various cultural and religious backgrounds?
  1. Observe diverse traditions, celebrations, and holidays from other cultures. The easiest and most fun way to do this would be to create a culturally diverse holiday calendar in the office. Encourage your colleagues to get involved and find appropriate ways to celebrate these different traditions. It can be wonderful for team-building and a great way for colleagues at different levels of the organization to connect. 

When larger organized celebrations are not practical, make it a point to personally acknowledge a significant religious or cultural holiday. Even just sending a greeting via email can mean a lot to a colleague especially if he or she is far from home. 

Apart from celebrations, be sensitive to your colleagues’ cultural or religious practices. For example, avoid scheduling client lunches during a time of fasting or holding meetings during a time of prayer.

  1. Foster diverse thinking. This is important because different people from different backgrounds and generations sometimes have vastly different perspectives on all sorts of issues, from how they compose an email to how they receive feedback during employee reviews. Make sure that team members cultivate their empathetic skills, so that they are able to understand how other people at the company think.
  1. Strengthen anti-discriminatory policies. Explicitly prohibit offensive behavior (e.g. derogatory comments towards colleagues of a specific gender or ethnicity), and reprimand, demote, or terminate offenders depending on the severity of their act. By protecting your employees from offensive and harmful behaviors, you promote a positive and inclusive work environment. 
  1. Be aware of unconscious bias in the evaluation process and promotion opportunities.

Some ways to do this include: 

  • Rewriting job descriptions so they are gender neutral and use words that strike a balance of gendered descriptors and verbs
  • Creating a blind system of reviewing resumes so you don’t see demographic characteristics
  • Setting diversity goals as an organization, so that you can keep track of your progress.
  1. Segment employee engagement surveys by minority groups. An annual pulse survey is common among companies, but many neglect to segment that data according to gender, generation, ethnicity, etc. By only looking at total numbers, you might miss the whole picture and an opportunity to identify issues pertaining to those groups.
  2. Have an open-door policy. One of the best ways to learn what employees care about is one-on-one talks with their manager. In order for these discussions to truly be effective, managers must have an “open door” policy so that workers feel comfortable in speaking their mind honestly and openly.
  3. Offer diversity and inclusion training. This helps employees understand how cultural differences can impact how people work, and interact at work. It can cover anything from concepts of time and communication styles to self-identity and dealing with conflict. 

Promoting inclusiveness and diversity within your workplace is one of the best ways to foster an open-minded, global company culture. Not only does this make good business sense—helping your company to better understand colleagues, clients, and customers around the world—it also makes the workplace a more interesting and personally enriching environment for everyone.

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation