For Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), hiring people with disabilities is more of a business decision than a CSR initiative.
"We have 10 visually impaired telesales teams across nine markets, and all these teams have consistently demonstrated their importance to the bank," says Andy Li, regional head of talent acquisition for North East Asia at SCB.
While SCB does not actively track the number of its staff with disabilities, Li says that this group of employees was generally found to be highly loyal and tended to deliver good business results.
As such, while the bank has initiatives that target candidates with disabilities to fill certain roles, it has stopped short of lowering the entry requirements.
"All our positions are filled based solely on merit, and we do not differentiate between applications received from candidates with disability and those from able-bodied candidates," Li says.
In some countries, such as India, SCB works with local NGOs such as V-Shesh Foundation and Ability Foundation to seek out and develop candidates with disabilities.
To date, SCB's India office has recruited 106 employees with disabilities, representing 1 per cent of its workforce on the sub-continent. The bank also provides operational support to group functions and business teams which have members with disabilities.
"Standard Chartered Bank is a strengths-based organisation," Li says. "We've always sought to emphasise the importance of our employees' strengths. In some ways, the provision of guidance and support to staff based on their strengths and skills set is probably more important than any physical adjustments we may have to make."
Li concedes there are challenges in hiring people with disabilities, but he says these can be overcome through an inclusive approach "to focus on unlocking the full potential of our employees, and to work with our employees with disabilities on how we can maximise their strengths".