Less Than 25% Of Indian Workspaces Have Adequate Facilities To Accommodate PWD: Randstad Study

50% of business leaders from public sector companies and 27% from Indian private sector companies opined that they do NOT have fair PwD policies within their organizations.


Randstad India, one of the leading organizations in the HR services industry, in partnership with Randstad RiseSmart, the leader in global talent mobility solutions and knowledge partner Vocallea, has launched the second edition of their exclusive study on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I), titled ‘Embracing All Abilities’. This year, Randstad’s multi-perspective ED&I study blends the employer-employee perspective to unveil interesting trends, involving the underlying sentiments of People with Disabilities (PwD) - beyond just the presence or absence of policies and provisions at the workplaces.

MNCs lead the inclusion mandate in India Inc.

Close to 65% of the business leaders who were part of this in-depth study opined that their organizations have policies to include people with disabilities (PwD). Of this, the biggest chunk comes from MNCs (50%), whereas, only about 19% are from Indian private sector companies and 4.5% are from the public sector companies. Another interesting finding is that, 67% of respondents from Indian public sector companies and 55% from Indian private sector companies mentioned that inclusion is present, but NOT mandated in their goals. Also, only a very small percentage (17%) of the business leaders from the public sector companies mentioned that their goals are aligned with inclusion. On the other hand, 53% of MNC leaders have aligned inclusion with their business goals.

Inclusion of PwD: Accountability & Effectiveness

50% of business leaders from public sector companies and 27% from Indian private sector companies opined that they do NOT have fair PwD policies within their organizations.

These numbers clearly reveal the fact that today, majority of the Indian private and public sector companies lack accountability metrics, effectiveness and policy-oriented actions when it comes to People with Disabilities.

Are employers providing accommodations for including people with disabilities?

The data from the study regarding accommodation also highlights that holistic inclusion is yet to become the norm in India Inc. As per the respondents, basic necessities for PwD, such as accessible toilets, technical aids and appropriate seating arrangements were present in only less than 25% of the workspaces, and as per 17% of the respondents, any kind of accommodation was entirely absent in their workplaces. This shows that even though intentions exist with organizations for inclusion, the roll-out of policies is incomplete, with many gaps that need to be filled.

At what levels are people with disabilities hired?

The study also revealed that when it comes to conscious PwD hiring, most of these happen at the junior (29.84%) and middle level (23.27%). Their presence in the organizational structure of the company decreases as we move towards senior and management roles in the hierarchy.

Are employers using external resources to move ahead?

According to the quantitative survey, 27.2% of business leaders say that their organizations are collaborating with external groups to improve their inclusion of PwD. Although this is a positive trend that organizations can consider, a majority (43%) mentioned that they do not do this. A crucial role performed by non-government organizations is to upskill PwD to make them eligible for the job market. This is an area that demands much stronger involvement from employers, to improve employability, as well as design stronger training & on-boarding policies internally.

Training & Sensitization

Currently, many organizations have training programs designed around inclusive behavior. However, conversations with HR Leaders reveal that there is not yet much emphasis on PwD as part of such training, though the quantitative data is more positive in this regard. 42% of the business leaders mentioned that sensitization programs include training on working with PwD in their organizations.

Presenting insights from the ED&I study, ‘Embracing All Abilities’, Viswanath PS, MD & CEO, Randstad India said, “Creating a diverse workforce is a crucial step in achieving inclusivity in the workplace. However, true inclusivity goes beyond just diversity and encompasses the acceptance and integration of individuals from all backgrounds, including those of different abilities, genders, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. While many companies in India are still working towards creating inclusive workplaces, we believe that by fostering positive role models, investing in necessary infrastructure & accommodation facilities, and implementing effective policies and legal frameworks, we could fast-track significant progress in this area.

While policies and infrastructure for people with disabilities are important to achieve true inclusion, organizations must also focus on non-discrimination and create a level-playing field for all in workplaces, to acknowledge and leverage the immense value that PwDs can bring to the table. I believe leaders who model PwD and other forms of inclusion through their own behavior and goals demonstrate the organization's commitment to these values and act as ambassadors for the desired workplace culture. It is encouraging to see some companies actively stressing on PwD inclusion by collaborating with external experts to bring diverse perspectives to the table. However, we still have a long way to go.

Building a culture where we respect and celebrate differences takes time, understanding and effort. But organizations should treat this as the Holy Grail to inclusive and sustainable success. This unique ED&I report from us is an attempt to help employers deep dive into the real issues of inclusion through the lens of People with Disabilities, thus enabling them to take progressive decisions”, Viswanath added.

What hampers faster organizational inclusion of PwD?

Hiring & Onboarding:

· Considered only for junior/back-end roles

· Low empathy and poor understanding of onboarding needs e.g. time taken to understand the functioning of a software

At employment:

· Lack of assistive devices (e.g. screen readers, captions)

· Poor physical infrastructure (e.g. ramps, seating, common areas access, washrooms)

· Inadequate medical benefits especially for less understood conditions

Overall behavioral patterns:

· Exclusion from informal interactions

· Colleagues' focus on their inadequacies

· Intrusive questions

· Not considered for growth opportunities

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