Human resource disability - inclusive practices and the employment of persons with disabilities by commercial banks in Kenya
Kingori, Rachael Murehia
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According to the World Health Organization, approximately 15% of the global population have some form of disability and are more likely to be unemployed compared to the general population. In Kenya, there is limited data on the number of persons with disabilities (PWDs) and like most developing countries PWDs experience low levels of employment and are more likely to be discriminated against getting paid employment. It is evident that Employers’ policies and practices play a critical role in the hiring and retention of PWDs in the workplace. In line with the Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFI) whose goal is to entrench sustainable finance practices across the banking industry, Commercial Banks in Kenya are required to develop a Diversity and Inclusion policy, create enabling work environments that accommodate PWDs and are free from discrimination. However, it is not clear the nature of the effect of human resource (HR) policies and practices on the employment of PWDs. This study aimed to establish the effects of HR disability-inclusive practices in the employment of persons with disabilities within commercial banks in Kenya. The research was guided by four objectives: to establish the effect of inclusive recruitment practices on the employment of PWDs, to determine the effect of accommodation practices and the employment of PWDs, to determine the effect of social integration practices on the employment of PWDs, and to find out the effect of training practices on the employment of PWDs. The study was anchored on the Medical Model of disability, Social Model of Disability and the Resource Based Value Theory. The study employed a descriptive survey research design and a multistage sampling technique was used to select 88 respondents for the survey. Data was collected from HR professionals across Tier 1 and 2 commercial banks through the administration of structured questionnaires. Data analysis entailed the use of both descriptive and inferential statistics. For the descriptive analysis, the findings of the study were presented using appropriate tables and figures whereas for the inferential analysis, the Pearson correlation and regression analysis were used to establish the relationship between the dependent and the independent variables via the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPPS). The mean, median and standard deviation were used as measures of central tendencies and dispersion. The findings of the study were presented using appropriate tables and figures. The majority of the participants agreed that commercial banks had clear goals and targets of recruiting PWDs. The study established that training opportunities in commercial banks were availed to all employees on an equal basis, however there was little evidence on offering PWDs specific training programs. The study revealed that most commercial banks had an explicit policy concerning the recruitment, accommodation, promotion, and retention of PWDs. The study further established that training practices were the best predictors of employment, followed by recruitment practices while social integration and accommodation practices had insignificant positive relationships hence are areas for further research. To enable PWDs have access to job adverts, it is recommended that banks post their job adverts on disability related publications and or disability-related websites like the National Council of Persons with Disability (NCPWD) Job Portal. Besides, each commercial bank is encouraged to have disability champion(s) whose role is to raise awareness, push for structures and policies that ensure full participation of PWDs in the workplace. In addition, facilitate the creation of employee resource groups for PWDs at the workplace and conduct beneficial PWDs specific training programs. The study contributes to existing theory by providing evidence to support the existence of a strong relationship between HR disability-inclusive practices and the employment of PWDs. The study was limited by the inability to collect data from some commercial banks due to information sharing policies that prohibited their participation resulting to a lower population. Further studies may address these limitations.