In August this year, Singapore announced the latest Enabling Masterplan 2030, which sets out a vision for the nation to be an inclusive society by 2030. The plan comprises 29 recommendations along three themes of learning, independence, as well as social and physical environments, guiding the efforts of government agencies and other stakeholders in shaping the disability landscape over the next few years.
As part of the Masterplan, employers too can play a role in creating a more inclusive Singapore. The plan sets a target of a 40% employment rate for those with disabilities by 2030, up from the current employment rate of about 30% from 2020 to 2021.
To achieve this target, SG Enable is looking to increase the number of disability-inclusive employers. Several initiatives are already in place to incentivise inclusive hiring practices. For instance, the Enabling Employment Credit (EEC) was introduced in 2021, which grants wage offsets of up to 20% of monthly income for those hiring Singaporeans with disabilities earning less than S$4,000 per month.
Employers can also apply for the Enabling Mark – an national-level accreditation framework that recognises orgnanisations for best practices and outcomes in disability-inclusive employment. Employers with the Enabling Mark signal their commitment to hiring people with different abilities, a willingness to adapt and innovate to accommodate those with disabilities, and being open to embrace collaboration to make people feel integrated, included, and valued.
But while Singapore is encouraging employers to consider hiring persons with disabilities, are there benefits to the employers beyond doing so out of goodwill? Turns out, the perks are plentiful!
Benefits of hiring persons with disabilities
First off, it’s important to note that individuals with disabilities are more than capable of contributing meaningfully to the workplace. In fact, some individuals may even have an edge over the neurotypical. Research has found that many adults with autism are better able to recognise patterns, and have superior memory and mathematical skills than neurotypical workers.
Employees with developmental disabilities can also contribute to higher levels of productivity, lower absenteeism, and increased customer loyalty, according to a Forbes article.
Having inclusive hiring practices is also a boon to company culture and employer branding. A recent study commissioned by SG Enable found that companies with established disability-inclusive hiring practices have “more purpose-driven employees, an innovative and learning culture, simpler and digitally-enabled processes, and customer-centric thinking”, according to the SG Enable website.
Additionally, embracing inclusivity is beneficial for the company’s bottom line. Previously, Charterhouse penned an article on diversity and inclusion, finding that inclusive companies had more than two times higher cash flow per employee, and are also more likely to have above-average profitability.
Clearly, the perks for hiring persons with disabilities are plentiful. But how can employers ensure they are designing inclusive workplaces that accommodate these individuals?
Becoming an inclusive employer
For those keen on starting their inclusive hiring practices, SG Enable has developed a Starter Kit for Disability Employment. The kit details basic information on persons with disabilities, the type of roles they may be more suited for, diagnostic tools to determine how inclusive a workplace is, as well as tips on how organisations can begin their inclusive hiring journey.
For example, one way an employer can enable and empower persons with disabilities in the workplace is to provide reasonable job accommodation by adjusting existing processes or tasks. This could look like identifying tasks that can be done by persons with disabilities, such as routine tasks for those with autism. Other forms of job accommodation include flexible working hours, or career trial periods that will allow employers to assess if a candidate is indeed suitable for the role they are applying for.
Another important step that employers need to take to ensure workplace inclusivity is workplace accessibility. This can involve making physical changes to the workplace, such as ensuring that aisles are wide enough for wheelchairs to fit through.
Workplaces should also promote e-Accessibility, where ICT tools are used to help those with disabilities communicate in workplaces. For example, this could mean ensuring that documents and websites have sufficient colour contrast between the text and background so that those with impaired vision can easily read it. Text-to-speech software can also be used for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
More detailed information on workplace accessibility and disability hiring can be found on SG Enable’s website here. Need advice and guidance on inclusive hiring practices and workplace accessibility? Reach out to Charterhouse today for a consultation!