fbpx

As the leader in APAC Real Estate Market, Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Link REIT) boasts a diversified assets portfolio that includes retail facilities, car parks, offices and logistics assets spanning Hong Kong, Mainland China, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, Singapore, and London in the UK (as of March 2023). Link REIT’s commitment extends to employees from diverse backgrounds and brings an increased level of creativity, leading to more efficient approaches in various scenarios.

In this article, Rita Chan, Director – Human Resources of Link REIT, will introduce how the company has successfully implemented Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in the workplace and the benefits they have gained.

 

📍How did your organization begin the D&I journey in Hong Kong?

Being closely connected to the communities we serve, Link REIT embarked on its D&I journey with a focus on creating accessible and welcoming spaces for all individuals. In 2011, we initiated the Barrier-free Access Improvement Plan, investing approximately HK$229 million to provide accommodating access across our properties in Hong Kong. This initiative has contributed to the development of a more inclusive society.

Next, we extended our efforts in workplace disability inclusion after our management team had the inspiring and transformative Dialogue Experience (brought by Dialogue in the Dark (HK) Foundation to experience in person how visually-impaired people live all the time). We then made our first disability hire in the HR department in 2022 and have been exploring opportunities to hire disabled personnel in other departments to foster an inclusive culture in the company.

We acknowledge that the success of our D&I initiatives depends not only on senior management but also on colleagues’ involvement. Therefore, we have implemented training programs to raise awareness and foster a more inclusive and supportive workplace. Collaborations with organizations like CareER have further supported disability hiring initiatives and facilitated the smooth integration of employees with disabilities or SEN. Through these ongoing efforts, we aim to create an environment where all individuals feel valued and supported.

 

📍Why did you decide to participate in the Jockey Club Collaborative Project for Inclusive Employment – CareER Thriving Grass Career Development Program (Thriving Grass Program)? What’s your feedback on CareER and the intern after the Thriving Grass Program? Will there be any next steps?

Our connection with CareER was established through a colleague in our talent acquisition team who had previously collaborated with them. Recognizing their extensive experience in supporting companies with D&I recruitment services, we decided to partner with CareER to advance our workplace D&I efforts.

This year, with the support of the Thriving Grass Program, we successfully hired two summer interns with disabilities who joined our HR and IT departments. The program not only provided valuable opportunities for the interns but also allowed other departments to gain exposure and experience in working alongside colleagues with special needs, extending our D&I culture beyond HR and permeating throughout the organization.

Similar to any other employee, individuals with diverse abilities thrive when they are provided with the necessary accommodations tailored to their needs. Through the Thriving Grass Program, we have experienced the immense contributions that these talented individuals can make when given the right opportunities and support. It has encouraged us to become more flexible and creative in structuring roles to accommodate diverse needs. We definitely welcome more talents from this pool and look forward to co-creating a positive and inclusive workplace where everyone can flourish and succeed.

📍What are the takeaways during the process?

There are several key points to consider when promoting D&I in the workplace. First, it is important to understand that having employees with special needs does not necessarily entail significant workplace changes. The accommodations required are often less extensive. While starting a D&I journey from scratch may be challenging, there are many resources available from various partners that can be leveraged. We encourage our professional peers to collaborate with D&I organizations, as they offer comprehensive services from internal training, candidate matching to support for the successful integration of individuals with disabilities.

Hiring interns with impairments could be a valuable starting point. This initiative enables the team to develop confidence in working with these individuals and provides an opportunity to witness their abilities first-hand. Many companies overlook the untapped talent pool of people with differences, which is why it is crucial to consider hiring candidates from this pool. Doing so not only attracts a wider range of talent but also results in a more skilled and talented workforce.

Last but not least, taking a proactive approach to disability hiring positions the company as a leader in terms of D&I. Diversity and inclusion are not only the right thing to do but are also crucial to business success. By embracing D&I, companies create an environment that fosters innovation, creativity, and a more inclusive culture that benefits everyone.

SENergyDisability InclusionLink REIT: Diversity and inclusion are not only the right thing to do but also crucial to business success.