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Corporate social responsibility – a win-win possibility for all Heikki Seppälä The Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD)

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Presentation on theme: "Corporate social responsibility – a win-win possibility for all Heikki Seppälä The Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Corporate social responsibility – a win-win possibility for all Heikki Seppälä The Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD) Marburg, May 8 th, 2014

2 People with ID and their employment in Finland The population of Finland: 5 450 000 45 000 people with ID, 23 000 are 18-65 years old ca. 300 day centers for people with ID around the country, 14 000 people taking part in their activities – activities for people with severe/profound ID: 3 800 – workshops (assembly and packing of products; textile work and weaving; wood and metal work; art): 7 700 – 2 500-3000 people are ”outplaced” from day centers to ordinary workplaces – no job contract, no salary, only a small fee of 5-12€/day (in addition to disability allowance) – 350-400 are in paid jobs with normal job contracts

3 The old system is in crisis, because… People with ID are today better educated than before, many have vocational training  they want real jobs The sheltered workshops are full, but more and more people are coming out of secondary education, looking for work The traditional service system based on sheltered workshops is expensive Workshops are segregative, isolated and too much disability- centered (instead of being ability-centered) Some current practices violate the human rights of users (eg. working without job contract / salary) No other goal than to ”keep them there”? No innovative, goal- directed developments in recent years.

4 The society is calling for a change, too The baby boom generations (born 1945-50) are retiring, new workforce is needed to fill the gap left by them The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities has enhanced a major change in the values and objectives of the disability policy in the country More taxpayers are needed to finance the welfare society; people with disabilities are seen as one possible potential  New impulses to open the doors for people with disabilities to the labour market are needed

5 A Finnish experiment of corporate social responsibility

6 Corporate social responsibility CSR Not just giving money to charity, but… “A company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship (1) through their waste and pollution reduction processes, (2) by contributing educational and social programs, (3) by earning adequate returns on the employed resources.” (

7 Recently, FAIDD has invested a lot of effort to approaching some big companies, inviting them to discuss issues of social responsibility. – A NGO like FAIDD can give companies new opportunities to join social programs which promote the citizenship and participation of people with special needs Our campaign to promote the employment of people with intellectual disabilities is one of the first results of this effort We wanted to try, if talking about CSR would open new ways to contact individual employers – i.e. rather to give employers new possibilities to show their CSR to the community than to ask them to employ someone with ID A motivated partner from the private sector was needed to make this happen FAIDD and CSR

8 K-chain is one of the two major chains of shops in Finland. The K-retailers´ Association (KA) has >1200 shopkeeper members around the country As a part of its 100 th anniversary 2012, KA wanted to promote the employment of people with ID in K-groceries, department stores, fuel stations, hardware stores etc. – This was the main CSR theme of KA in 2012 – This was decided at the highest level of KA organisation KA chose FAIDD to do the actual job, i.e. to transform the big CSR idea into concrete actions in the communities where the shopkeepers operate ( ) K-retailers´ Association

9 An unholy alliance… A project contract between FAIDD and KA was made – At first April-December 2012, then continued till August 2013 The role and contribution of each was defined – KA gave the money (80 000€ altogether) – KA gave FAIDD the necessary information to contact the >1200 shopkeepers, plus the necessary knowhow about shopkeepers, their needs and challenges etc. – KA used its own media and contact networks to encourage the shopkeepers to join the project and employ people with ID – FAIDD gave the knowhow about supported employment, defined the rules (only paid jobs and normal job contracts, only with the support from local job coaches) and did the actual job Continuous monitoring of the project together  mutual trust

10 One coordinator, a laptop and a phone A professional, experienced job coach was recruited to coordinate the project Her main task: to help the interested shopkeepers and job seekers to find each other, in cooperation with local job coaches An information letter by e-mail to every >1200 K-shopkeeper was sent four times May2012 – Feb2013 – What is the campaign about? Corporate social responsibility. – Why is it a good idea to employ someone with ID? What could he/she do in the shop? – How is it done – some practical advice – How to proceed?

11 Then it started to happen The e-mail campaign to the members of KA resulted in closer negotiations with 66 individual shopkeepers around the country – … and 60 local job coaches – … and 15 local employment offices 102 articles in newspapers and magazines telling about the project; 8 times on TV or radio news; a DVD Presentations in many seminars and congresses; continuous reporting also to the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Employment and Economy

12 25 shopkeepers hired a new worker during the campaign: many of them operate in the Helsinki metropolitan area, where there are both people, shops and established SE organisations in 8 cases the employee was the first person with ID in the community who was employed with normal job contract in every 25 cases the initiative to hire someone with ID came from the shopkeeper, in the spirit of CSR many of these employers had someone with intellectual disability in the family or in the neigbourhood

13 23/26: the local employment office granted a wage subsidy to cover a part of the salary of the employee – This helped the employers to take the risk – for many of them this was the first time to have someone with ID in their staff 12/26 job contracts were made for 1 year or longer – many contracts are now permanent – 1/26 contract was terminated because of problems; the shopkeeper employed another worker with ID (with success, this time) – 25 shopkeepers, 26 job contracts 2/26 full time jobs; 24/26 part time jobs, around 20 hours/week – The possibility to earn money in addition to disability allowance is strictly limited to  740€ / month; this sets limits to working hours, too 26 job contracts

14 Analysing those cases that did not result in employing someone with ID gave interesting results  Even 14-15 more jobs could have been created, if proper support for the employer and employee were available: – The shopkeeper wanted to employ someone with ID, but there was no SE service (no job coach) in the community (10) – The local employment office did not want to support employing someone with disability allowance (7) – The local services for people with ID did not support their users to seek for jobs in the open labour market; the local job coach did not believe in the plan (4) – Several obstacles of this kind, the process took long and became too complicated, the shopkeeper got tired and withdrew from the plan (4) – The local job coach could not find a good candidate for the offered job (?!?) (3) Every process was not successful (41)

15 In more than 20 cases the shopkeeper did not want to make a job contract: – The shopkeeper had perhaps had for many years an ”outplaced” worker from the local day center, without job contract, without paying a proper salary, and did not want to change the status quo (14) – The shopkeeper contacted the coordinator, but after receiving more information, withdrew from the project (7) – The shopkeeper moved to another community during the process (3) – The shopkeeper hired someone else with special needs than a person with intellectual disability (2) The shopkeeper and the local job coach could not get along with each other (1)

16 After the campaign, KA produced (with the assistance of FAIDD) a guidebook ”Employing a person with intellectual disability” and distributed the guidebook to all its members and partner organisations around the country – The time-limited project led into a permanent good practice The guidebook includes a strong recommendation to employ people with ID to K-shops whenever it is possible and sensible Instructions to making a job contract, defining the salary, dealing with local employment officials and looking for necessary supports are included. This is the first guidebook of this kind in Finland which is published by an employer organisation! A guidebook for the shopkeepers

17 Inputs and outputs 16 months, 80 000 € - what did we get? 25 new jobs for people with intellectual disability – The number is slowly growing even after the campaign ended An impulse to develop better SE services in at least 10 communities around the country – Practical guidance for 60 job coaches and 15 employment offices Huge and positive media publicity, both for KA and K-shopkeepers and FAIDD and the people with ID A guidebook for the shopkeepers New contacts to the relevant ministeries, possibilities to contribute the future employment strategies in Finland

18 A learning experience An alliance between private sector and a NGO can be very fruitful: – The NGO can support the company in finding a good way to show social responsibility through eg. a social program – The NGO has the necessary knowhow to carry out the plan – Working together with the private sector is very straightforward; it is easy to make quick decisions and just go into action – An alliance with such an organisation as KA is a shortcut to new contact networks that would otherwise be more or less inaccessible to a NGO Corporate social responsibility is another approach to make sense in employing someone with disability – It is important for companies ”to do good to look good” – The main thing is to get in over the threshold

19 A nation-wide alliance like ours can give a strong impulse to developing the service network and its practices – There are no success stories without the contribution of competent job coaches – The local SE service must be goal-directed, independent, flexible and available The shopkeepers and the people with intellectual disability are not the problem, but the attitudes and out-of-date practices of the staff in ID services and employment offices Supporting the employment of people with special needs into the open labour market is not the goal of social services and supports – why???

20 The shopkeepers suffer from high turnover of their part-time staff – they see people with ID as a real possibility to recruit reliable, motivated and permanent staff – There may be even more demand for this kind of staff in these days, when the economical crisis is continuing Using creatively media can support such campaigns and projects surprisingly well Employers need practical help and support, it is not always about attitudes. E-mail and phone are good tools for giving these. The networks change when the goal is set in employing people in the open labour market. You have to work together with the local employment officials and step out from the day center to meet the possible employers wherever they are.

21 Larger employers and larger outlets are more likely to employ and are more able to create customised jobs for people with disabilities Smaller employers often have limited volumes of routine work and they can offer only a few hours of work per week But it is easier for individual job coaches to approach small companies and look for new jobs there Big companies require different approach at different level – sometimes by different people, too CSR is something that you can talk about with big bosses Learn to think big! Think big!

22 Thank you!

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