Seeing beyond disability : Handicap International encourages businesses to be more inclusive

Handicap International

The Michelin Corporate Foundation is committed to diversity and inclusiveness in the world of work. Since 2018, it has been giving its backing to Handicap International – Humanity and Inclusion which is rolling out a program to promote the inclusive enterprise and lending support to organizations. The key theme of this approach is seeing beyond disability and making the enterprise benefit everyone.

Recognized as a major player working for the economic inclusion of disabled and vulnerable people, HI acts, reports, and assists public and private organizations in over 20 countries worldwide.

Using its experience, HI has launched an ambitious project to pool all the best practices which it and other organizations employ. It covers all the steps in the process of change management and support leading to the inclusion of the persons with disabilities, from hiring disabled employees and maintaining them in their jobs to promoting their cause. The objective during this initial phase is to identify the most appropriate and effective resources and subsequently allow training and awareness programs to be evaluated.

Using the different data gathered, methods and tools have been selected which will be tested and refined at the Michelin site at Chennai in India’s Tamil Nadu state. To prepare for this, an expert has been dispatched by HI to work daily with the local teams. The accessibility of infrastructures to the persons with disabilities, from hiring disabled employees and maintaining them in their jobs to promoting their has been evaluated and the necessary modifications will be carried out using an action plan defined in collaborative workshops. Suggested improvements include, for example, adding a sign language commentary to the film presenting the site and producing a Braille version of the safety manual.

HI is mobilizing the whole site workforce around the issue of disability by creating a favorable environment and preparing the teams for the acceptance of disabled employees. HI is also advising management on the establishment of an inclusive human resource policy. Additionally, events are being organized to create disability awareness in the local community, such as an ‘inclusive marathon’.

As part of this project, HI organized the first European version of the Harkin Summit in Paris in April 2019. Over 78 organizations took part in the event, representing businesses and international foundations, sponsoring bodies and institutions. This exploratory summit aspired to create a worldwide momentum around the inclusion of persons with disabilities and the associated issues. A white paper entitled Towards Inclusive Globalization: Policies and practices to promote the employment of people with disabilities was published on this occasion.

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