KFC Does Disability Right
October 24 2018 By Progression
Less than 1% of South African's with disabilities are employed, KFC want to change this.
Disability was at the forefront of KFC's agenda on the 2ndof October 2018,as thebrandlaunched its first Disability Day.
The room was buzzing with excitement as employees listened attentively to the opening speech given by Tarun Lal, General Manager at KFC Africa.
Tarun spoke of a successful initiative- The Specially Abled Project, which he helpedimplement in various KFCrestuarantsacrossIndia, and hishopes to duplicate a similiar initiative in South Africa.
"We hear these awfully low statistics of the employment rate for people with living with disabilities and need to ask ourselves - what can we do about this? That's the exact question we asked in India. I visited a franchisee in a city called Kolkata. This particular franchisee had hired team members who were deaf. These team members were extremely passionate, hardworking and productive. However, this particular franchisee was very careful to not place these team members in the front of the house as he was unsure as to how they would communicate with customers."
"When we refer to diversity and inclusion, we truly believe in equal opportunities for all. Realistically, keeping team members in the back of the house does not mean equal opportunities. This begged the question; how do we truly embrace and implement true inclusion for team members with disabilities? We engaged with various subject matter experts and modified various elements in the restaurant. We included sign language in the menu so that customers could order using the relevant sign. We also replaced various alarms with lights so that employees could see, for example, when a meal was ready. Giventhat these individuals didn't have any form of education, we had to train them in basic spelling, writing and mathematics."
As part of KFC's initiative to increase awareness around disability and foster an inclusive culture that embraces people with disabilities, they implemented "A Day in the Life Of" campaign. This innovative campaign, in which four KFC employees experienced what it was like to spend a day with a disability, helped raise awareness around some of the barriers, stereotypes and challenges faced by people with disabilities in work and everyday life.
One of the said employees,Matt Starkey, describes his experience : "I had a hearing impairment for a day. I wore earplugs and ear muffs and struggled to hear normal conversation. Although my colleagues were understanding, they did get very frustrated and impatient when trying to communicate with me. I felt very left out in meetings and was quite lonely during lunch. The biggest lesson I have taken away from all of this is the importance of patience and the willingness to include people."