Transforming ideas into action – National conference for the empowerment of persons with disabilities at the workplace in India

14 Apr 2020

The last few years have particularly seen the Indian industry becoming more open to inclusion and taking proactive steps to understand the how and what of disability inclusion. Given the global goals India has committed to, the government’s commitments as well as a growing industry engagement towards inclusion, it is an opportune time to create a strong eco-system that would provide a thrust to the inclusion movement.

Given the backdrop, the India Business and Disability Network organised a national conference on the empowerment of persons with disabilities “Transforming Ideas into Action – Stepping into the Next Decade” on 5 March 2020 in New Delhi.

The conference discussions focused on some of the key elements that need to be addressed to move the inclusion needle:

  • Enabling policies – the Government has, through a legislation in 2016, mandated companies to notify EOP. In addition, Government-run departments and companies are mandated to hire persons with disabilities. The session offered a moment to reflect on the policies and the implementation issues. The Government also shared the needs to develop an accessible devices market eco-system and encourage domestic players.
  • Enabling accessibility – companies shared how all-encompassing accessibility practices lead to employee and customer success. Companies representing retail, entertainment, IT as well as SMEs shared experiences of increased repeat customer base and employee retention. The Government shared key accessibility ideas and features for companies to adopt.
  • Growth enablers at the workplace – companies share the key enablers that helped them accelerate the inclusion movement within companies. Companies shared experience of workplace policy enhancement, building inclusive corporate culture, creating an accessible and ergonomic workplace, designing disability-inclusive training programs like leadership capacity building and employee resource groups.

A masterclass was conducted to help the participants decode India’s Act for Persons with Disabilities and what are the compliance aspect for private companies and how they should design their equal opportunity policies.

The Conference also witnessed the launch of Champions of change – Catalysing Inclusion at Workplace‘, a compendium documenting the efforts made by champion companies to enable an inclusive and accessible workplace by employing practical solutions and human resource management practices.