Imagine a company selling complex technology solutions. You need to put together a team that can sell these complex products and services to your target customers. You have an option of hiring all technical people to sell and support the product, or you can hire a team that consists of a salesman, a subject matter expert, a project manager, and an administrative assistant to handle the documentation and logistics.
Given these two options, you would probably go with the second team because it has different personalities and expertise that can be used to understand the customer needs from a short and long-term perspective, package a technical solution to address those needs, and complement it with the necessary financial and commercial solution to successfully implement the project. Having a diverse workforce allows different strengths and competencies to enrich a team’s approach in solving different problems.
Imagine the Katipunan without Apolinario Mabini. Imagine the US without Franklin D. Roosevelt. Imagine science without Prof. Stephen Hawking. Imagine music without Ludwig van Beethoven. These are some of the differently abled persons who made a difference in their respective fields.
Our religious leaders also recognize the need for inclusive growth. Cardinal Tagle, during the 9th International Conference on Catholic Social Thought and Business Education, stressed the importance of a sense of stewardship and inclusive growth, the universal destination of the good for everyone to enjoy and discover patriotism, solidarity and the common good.
On the other hand, our lawmakers authored Republic Act No. 10524 – An Act Expanding the Positions Reserved for Persons with Disability, which states that “no person with disability shall be denied access to opportunities for suitable employment,” and that at least 1 percent of all positions in all government agencies, offices or corporations shall be reserved for persons with disability.
Private corporations with more than 100 employees are also encouraged to reserve at least one percent of all positions for PWDs. A qualified employee with disability shall be subject to the same terms and conditions as a qualified able-bodied person. In short, the human resource departments are encouraged to integrate differently abled individuals in the workforce.
A holistic strategy is needed by companies and government institutions to integrate differently abled people into their workforce. HRM practices such as recruitment, selection development, job analysis and design, performance management, and training, among others must be realigned to be consistent with the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities. This will assist in gaining the diversity advantage. By appreciating diversity, we can gain potential and creativity from the collaboration of the workforce, recapturing commitment and sharing their talents.
Another approach is that HR can partner with different schools for the disabled to give the disabled the right skills and to enable organizations to get the appropriate manpower. The holistic growth and quality of life of the employees must also be considered.
However, the number of differently abled will always be more than the possible minimum requirement of the Magna Carta. It is a challenge and opportunity of the families and the community of the differently abled persons to provide the proper education, love and care, to encourage them to pursue their dreams. They can even be entrepreneurs or artists who can provide employment to other Filipinos, to become responsible citizens of our country.
Having differently abled persons in the workplace could benefit organizations because diversity brings about new and creative ways of looking at a problem and proposing new solutions.
Shalini M. Morta is an Assistant Professional Lecturer at the Management and Organization Department of the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) of De La Salle University. She is also the Graduate Student Council president of RVRCOB. She welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.