Chile’s Inclusive Hiring Integrates Disabled People Into Aramark Workforce
Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce extends beyond people of various races, genders and ethnicities. It also encompasses a workforce that includes people whose perspectives, experiences and backgrounds contribute to a stronger employee population in a variety of different, and sometimes unexpected ways.
Aramark Chile, for example, has included handicapped people in the workplace for many years, and has seen important benefits not only for the handicapped, but also for other employees.
“The presence of these people unites our workforce,” explained Sandra Miranda, Aramark Chile’s social responsibility coordinator. Handicapped employees demonstrate great responsibility and perseverance, she said, setting an example that helps all employees strive to be better at what they do.
Since 2006, Aramark Chile has built and expanded its Insertion of Handicapped People Program, which provides disabled people with tools that help them develop greater self reliance and self esteem, as they learn and grow in jobs within Aramark operations in Chile.
More than 110 people are currently participating, working in a variety of different roles, from cleaning, to dining services, to administrative assistance. Each employee is trained, supervised and monitored over a three-month period, and they are then provided with an ongoing job, and gain the same benefits as any employee.
Though the normal rate for hiring of the handicapped ranges from between 30 and 40 percent of those who enter the program, Miranda said, Aramark’s program has resulted in hiring more than 50 percent of those who enter the program.
This program has offered numerous advantages, she said.
“It improves the quality of life for the individual. They have a very low turnover rate. It has also created an improvement in the work atmosphere for all our employees,” she added.
“We define ourselves as a company of persons for the service of persons, so for us, it is fundamental that every member of the company promotes and understands the diversity of the human being as an important driver in our mission,” Miranda said.
“This program has played a fundamental role in the generation of highly productive work teams. We have seen that this integration produces a greater level of commitment and better results,” added Pablo Achurra, President and COO, Aramark South America.
The program has received multiple accolades. The Chilean North American Chamber of Commerce presented Aramark with its prestigious “Grand Prize of Good Corporate Citizenship” award in 2010. The program was also cited in Diversity Journal magazine, which named Aramark one of the 10 best companies internationally for development and promotion of diversity in the workplace. In 2011, the Chilean Safety Association awarded the “Social Contribution Prize for the Productive Employment of Handicapped People” to Aramark as well.
Aramark Chile continues to improve the program, and recently held its first summit on inclusive operations to evaluate the program, study results, and acknowledge the clients and customers who worked with our handicapped employees.