An inclusive work culture not only helps persons with disabilities thrive in the workplace but also a boon to employers when it comes to managing staff turnover rate.

For a period of time, the Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl), had to grapple with the issue as certain positions saw a particularly high turnover rate. By chance, they started tapping into a hidden talent pool, and the result was nothing but excellent.

“Some of our roles are monotonous and involve heavy paperwork. In the past, we had challenges in retaining employees, but persons with disabilities proved to be game-changers as they excelled in those roles and helped stabilise the turnover rate,” Jason Lee, Head of Human Resources at Hactl, says.

Compared with other big corporates, Hactl takes a remarkably different approach on disability inclusion. The company has specific human resources needs, and CareER is well-positioned to link the company up with qualified candidates.

“Interesting enough, when we first started collaborating with Hactl, we always had students from the Vocational Training Council’s airport operations programme coming to us and looking for internship opportunities every year. For example, we have placed a member into their operation team last year under the CareER Jockey Club Thriving Grass Career Development Program. These students were highly motivated, and internship opportunities for them were few and far between. Thanks to Hactl, not only were we able to help those students but also achieve a win-win outcome for both parties,” Walter Tsui, CareER co-founder, says.

One might think due to Hactl’s operation environment, there could be resistance or hesitation about hiring persons with disabilities. Lee recalled there was none. Instead, the primary concern was to make sure the positions would be the right fit for them.

“Obviously there are positions not suitable for persons with disability but other than that the top priority was to provide a safe working environment. For example, we thought about accessibility and shift modification to cater the genuine needs of persons with disabilities,” Lee continues. “Another thing we did was educating our staff. we explained to line managers about diversity inclusion and encouraged them to hire persons with disabilities. On the other hand, we organized sensitivity and etiquette workshops to enhance staff members’ understanding of persons with disabilities so that they would know how to interact with them.”

Apart from employment placement, CareER also offers individualised services that help make a real impact on disability inclusion. “CareER’s expertise is very valuable in helping us to tackle issues arising from disability inclusion at the workplace. For example, they have a thorough understanding of the candidates’ backgrounds so that they can inform us of things we should be aware of and how we can accommodate the candidates’ needs. This gives us the confidence to hire more persons with disabilities,” Lee adds.

The hiring of persons with disabilities by Hactl was out of a desire to meet the company’s human resources needs, but little did Lee know that his pragmatic and straightforward approach would turn out to be a great empowerment vehicle.

“Initially all I thought was about giving these people opportunities to gain some work experience. I was really taken aback when they told me what it mattered most to them was the company’s caring culture,” Lee recounts. “All along save for the necessary adjustments, we didn’t lower the requirements as we thought these people wanted to come to work on a fair basis. As it turned out, they were quick learners and dedicated employees.”

Hactl’s story is a powerful testament that disability inclusion can produce a win-win situation for all parties. With no fanfare and elaborate policies, Hactl’s can-do spirit means that with a clear goal and a dependable service provider, any company, big and small, can make our workplaces more caring and inclusive.

CareER provides career development and campus supports for higher educated persons with disabilities and SEN, meanwhile, promotes equal opportunities and disabilities inclusion at the workplace.
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The CareER Jockey Club Thriving Grass Career Development Program is tailored for higher educated persons with disabilities and Special Educational Needs (SEN). During the program, participants will be given training opportunities to build self-confidence, improve personal competence, as well as develop leadership and communication skills. For more information, please visit: https://career.org.hk/key-program/ 

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