As an inclusive company that fosters equality, Rewardsco is humbled to have the opportunity to partner with forward-thinking resourcing companies to hire people with disabilities, particularly those who are hard of hearing.
In association with LIVClean, who recruit, manage and train staff with disabilities, Rewardsco has onboarded several hard of hearing employees in its Facilities Department over the past few years, and this is just the beginning of our efforts. Trish Steenfeldt-Kristensen, our in-house facilities manager, has nothing but glowing remarks about her staff. “They are so eager to learn and have a great sense of humour”, she says. Their interactions with colleagues across the business are a testament to those sentiments, as staff have warmly embraced them, with some even learning basic South African Sign Language (SASL) to improve their daily interactions. By actively hiring deaf individuals, Rewardsco is providing equal opportunities and support to one of the most forgotten segments of society, transforming lives in the process.
Bheki Khulu, a dedicated 46-year-old from Newcastle is one of the inspiring individuals who have found purpose and fulfillment through this initiative. As the breadwinner for his family, Bheki’s unwavering commitment has transformed their lives. He shares, “Whenever I can, I make it a point to visit my family, and seeing their happiness when I’m with them brings me immeasurable joy. I provide them with food, financial support, and assistance whenever possible.”
Bheki’s selection for a cleaning job within the company was based on his remarkable work ethic and efficiency. Despite being deaf, he works swiftly, cleans meticulously, and communicates effectively with others. Reflecting on his journey, Bheki adds, “Someone recognised the potential in me and decided to give me a chance to create opportunities. I am proud to be accepted here.”
At Rewardsco, we have witnessed first-hand how adept our deaf employees are at reading body language and facial expressions, which can be useful in interpreting nonverbal cues in the office, making communication much easier for staff who are not skilled in SASL. Our facilities manager also runs a WhatsApp messaging group for hard of hearing staff to enable fast communication with management when they are not physically present.
In addition to improved communication, our deaf staff use messaging technology to increase productivity. Since deaf individuals are often visual learners and communicators, they tend to be very detail-oriented and focused. They can often identify errors or inconsistencies that others may not notice, leading to improved quality control and overall efficiency. In fact, Steenfeldt-Kristensen says that her staff frequently go the extra mile, proactively using messaging platforms to spot issues or identify facilities that require maintenance while undertaking their regular duties. She shares, “Their enthusiasm for learning is infectious, and their incredible sense of humor brightens our workplace. The warm reception they’ve received from their colleagues is a testament to their wonderful personalities.”
It is their proactive attitude and outstanding work ethic that has opened further growth opportunities for our deaf staff, such as being trained in stock control and assisting with setting up events for senior board members and executives. 38-year-old Sashen Moodley shares his heartfelt motivation for joining Rewardsco. “When my father passed away in 2013, I was devastated. I decided then that I had to make him proud by lifting myself up and transforming my life. That’s why I seized this opportunity.” Sashen uses his earnings to assist his aging mother in every possible way.”
“An advantage of hiring deaf staff is the unique perspective they bring to the workplace”, says Steenfeldt-Kristensen. Deaf individuals have a different way of experiencing the world around them, which can provide valuable insights and perspectives that may otherwise not be readily available. Hiring deaf staff has many benefits, and by creating an inclusive workplace for all people, Rewardsco is fulfilling its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we hope to continue this journey in the future.