‘Job carving’, which refers to customising duties or creating specialist jobs for disabled people, is a method that’s being used more and more nowadays. As jobs become more flexible due to technology, companies look to job carving to create opportunities for disabled people. And it turns out that it benefits employees and organisations in many different ways.
Job carving differs from the standard way of a top-down approach to management. With top-down management, employees are indirectly involved in redesigning their jobs by providing information to the management. Job carving, on the other hand, allows the employee and the management to design the job together. According to Jennifer Ho of the University of Ottawa, “It is a strategy in which the individual and the employer negotiate the work environment, job duties and responsibilities, and other conditions of the job.” By (re)designing a position from the employee’s perspective, we can begin to think of how the person’s skills can contribute to the company, rather than impose a standard and “fit a circle into a square” approach. This applies to disabled employees as much as to regular employees, because even employees without impairments have personal limitations. Thus, job carving is not simply about inclusivity but rather, a managerial strategy that aims to maximise human resources from the ground up.
Job carving enables highly-skilled workers to focus on tasks that demand specific skills and delegate other tasks to a new role. Using this approach, disabled people can fulfill both high-skilled and low-skilled roles. The idea is to customise a job in such a way that maximises their time and skills.
There is, of course, the general perception that hiring disabled employees can affect efficiency and productivity. The numbers, however, tell that this is far from the truth. A study by Joseph Rowntree has established that employees with learning disabilities generally stay in their organisations longer than professionals that don’t have a disability. Moreover, an article from The Guardian, cited the Charity Awareness Monitor, specified that “77% of the public think more highly of companies that employ disabled people.” Both numbers indicate that organisations can benefit greatly in terms of workforce stability and their public image. This doesn’t even mention the dedication that many disabled employees have, particularly because our current society hinders them from having the same job opportunities as non-disabled people.
By using job carving strategies, you not only recognise the skills of disabled employees. You also accept disabilities as circumstances for potential excellence. In a previous post here on Evenbreak, we mentioned that disabilities can translate to competencies. A deaf employee, for instance, can be well-versed in reading body language. A blind person can have excellent verbal skills and thus excel in customer relations. Many people who live with some of impairment, compensate for this by focusing on another skill. Organisations may find this very valuable in positions that require expertise and focus, because they are assured that a disabled employee will flourish in a task they have confidence in doing. Job carving helps the transition and ensures that the employee fits perfectly into the position.
When in the process of redesigning a role, you need to do more than simply isolate tasks according to immediate organisational needs. Instead, you should look for neglected areas that can be covered by employees who can take on specific roles. This can be done by interacting with employees as well as clients, and one of the best ways to do this today is to leverage social media. Last year, digital marketing firm Ayima used the meta tag #AskAyima as a platform to start conversations online. Via the meta tag, the company was able to answer queries from digital marketers or potential clients on pressing issues that are making headlines in the digital world. Since the majority of the working population use social media, this setup provides a fast and efficient way to exchange information. Similarly, cosmetics brand L’Oreal Paris launched the hashtag #WorthSaying in a campaign that aims to engage with women and encourage them to bring up thoughts that they do not usually express. Strategies such as the aforementioned will enable an organisation to see angles that are not usually imagined from an insider’s perspective. This is particularly crucial for companies wishing to integrate people with disabilities, as most of the management and employees may not have experience with disabilities. Therefore, when ‘carving out’ a job and designing a role for a disabled employee, organisations could ask its clients for feedback or re-imagine its processes from a disabled person’s perspective.
Of course, another effective way to create inclusive opportunities is to seek the help of an employment consultant or a related social enterprise that is focused on this exact task. After all, the most precise way to customise a job is to determine the exact skills of a potential employee and look for specific tasks that fit these skills.
Regardless of the method, it is clear that job carving has lots of benefits for disabled employees and the organisation as a whole. Disabled employees will benefit from customised roles, enabling them to maximise their most valuable skills without their disabilities getting in the way of productivity. On the other hand, organisations can take advantage of a wider source of talent by opening themselves up to a disabled workforce. Aside from more hiring options, companies can also enrich their corporate culture with an inclusive environment. Disability ceases to be an issue when an organisation fosters a culture that pushes its members towards excellence according to their respective potential and limitations.