Telkom has a new and important aim. THATO TINTE looks at how the company is distinguishing itself as an equal opportunities provider for people with disabilities
People with disabilities have often experienced imbalanced career opportunities and limited employment within the country’s workforce. Thankfully, progressive companies such as Telkom are changing this landscape and placing more emphasis and effort on the recruiting and developing of employees with disabilities.
As a leader in the information and communications technologies (ICT) field, Telkom is committed to demonstrating its value of diversity and inclusion in its workforce by ensuring that people with disabilities receive equal rights and equal employment opportunities.
“While we are a large organisation of approximately 14 000 employees, we are foremost a Telkom family, whose members work together for a common goal,” says Telkom’s employment equity specialist, Buyisile Hlongwane.
The provider is ensuring that people with varying disabilities are in its employ and that reasonable care is offered to them. Employees with disabilities include (among others): wheelchair users; those visually impaired; people who are deaf; and people with spinal-cord or back injuries; and those who experience epilepsy.
Telkom states that many of its positions within its business units are suitable for people with disabilities. These include positions in solution architecture, product development and customer analytics.
“When searching for talent, we look for individuals with expert, specialised functional experience to meet the job requirement. Although qualifications are important, we go beyond academia and select candidates who are forward thinking, innovative, solutions-oriented and those who will put the needs of the customer first,” says Thamara Naicker, a talent management consultant at the company.
She says that current employees with disabilities are functioning in roles such as technical officers, project managers and administrators and that one of these employees is also in a top leadership position.
Telkom has also ensured that great care is taken in sensitising abled staff on being “disability aware”.
“Through our regular newsletters and online training, we are continuously educating our employees on the various disabilities that our employees live with and how they should accommodate these. Respect and fair treatment also forms part of the training objectives,” says Hlongwane.
Telkom will include seminars, presentations and training programmes for its managers so performance management of employees with disabilities can be enhanced.
Facilities at Telkom’s head office have also been adapted to enable ease of access for all. These include: bathroom modifications; ramps; the provision of cochlear implants for hearing-impaired employees; and amending office ergonomics for employees with back injuries (by using physiotherapeutic chairs).
To maximise its reach to candidates of disabilities, Telkom has established stakeholder relationships with organisations such as the QuadPara Association of South Africa and various other organisations for people with disabilities. These partnerships will allow Telkom to source skilled professionals with disabilities.
Readers interested in furthering their careers with Telkom can view available job opportunities on the Telkom Careers website and LinkedIn.