HANDICAPPED BUT EFFICIENT WORK FORCE
A city-based travel management firm has 30 percent of its workforce handicapped. And theyâ€™re more loyal and sincere said a Director of the company. All the management executives are satisfied with their performance and are expressing their willingness to add some more in this category if need arises.
LP works like any other receptionist: She always has a cheerful smile when you approach her at the reception counter of â€˜Quest to Travelâ€˜, a travel management company. But in this office neither her boss nor any of her seniors expect her to stand and greet them. She is physically handicapped and would find it extremely difficult to do so every time.
â€˜Quest to Travelâ€™ like any other travel management firms in the city offers a full range of travel servicesâ€”right from ticket booking to hotel arrangement to handling corporate clients. But it is an agency with a difference. Most of the staff, serving are physically challenged.
More than a third this companyâ€™s 45 member staff suffers from some form of physical deformity.
The CEO of the Travel Company states that it is more out of personal satisfaction rather than a social obligation that the company decided to employ the handicapped. He states that in the year 2004 when the company decided to diversify into travel Management Services from Graphic solutions, it was decided that the workforce should include a few physically handicapped employees as well
The CEO was talking to a big businessman and during discussions the problem of employee turnover came up that every business faces. It is then the CEO of Quest Travels put forth the idea that the handicapped but talented people can be utilized.
They then visited the National Society for Equal Opportunities for the Handicapped (NASEOH). They noticed most of the training that such centers provide has zero value as it hardly helps the handicapped fend for themselves. So it was decided to train the students there for which they had to invest substantial amount of money,
A trained instructor was hired who chalked out a syllabus for the handicapped. After six months of training 11 of the students were selected and employed by their companies.
He states that earlier many lacked the self-confidence and had to be groomed for that. Initially even if these students performed at 30 percent, it was more than enough. But now even their old teachers can hardly recognize them and they are adept in handling everything.
The company or the management never told any of their clients that most of the employees are handicapped as they do not want them to sympathize with the handicapped employees. The company never discriminated between employees and all are paid at par. So there is no question of doing this for any cost cutting.
A handicapped employee at the company said that the seniors are as strict with them as they are with regular staff and they even get a firing in case of any mistake. This makes the handicapped feel like normal people, just like others and thatâ€™s what they actually look forward to as the right treatment meted out to them.