“Non-profit organisation Bizlink, the second-largest employer of the disabled after the civil service, said the number of disabled people employed in higher-skilled and higher-value jobs has increased by around 30 per cent from five years ago” (More Disabled People Getting Better Jobs, Janice Tai).
That more persons with disabilities are being employed in higher-skilled and higher-value roles is heartening (ST, Dec. 20), yet non-profit organisations (NPOs) and voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) can improve their mechanisms for performance measurement and management. Beyond the traditional use of anecdotes, data can be used to assess the efficacy of training programmes, and ascertain whether jobs and services are good matches.
Instances of data application are ubiquitous around the world, and agencies such as SG Enable – which provides information and referral services as well as enhances employment options for persons with disabilities – can strengthen their undertakings by following suit. Administrators and social workers track the placement rates of their beneficiaries, to determine if the benefits are longstanding. Have employment rates improved over the years, and are these improvements consistent? How long do these individuals stay in their positions, and do they progressively assume more roles and responsibilities? Furthermore through qualitative interactions, do these individuals enjoy their jobs, and for what reasons?
It is too convenient to draw conclusions from a few success stories.
At first glance such endeavours can be time-consuming, thereby distracting service providers from their core tasks. But over time and in the bigger picture the aggregation of such data or information empowers the NPOs and VWOs to make better decisions. For instance, instead of having stakeholders simply attributing the present development “to an increasing willingness among employers to redesign jobs and officers to cater to [persons with disabilities]”, observations can be backed by statistical evidence. Besides the increase in 30 per cent in higher-skilled and higher-value jobs for the NPO Bizlink, have other organisations experienced the same. Moreover, has the number of these employers increased over the years, and which industries have been the most receptive?
Expansion of these programmes and schemes can only come with greater certainty of their outcomes. With steps taken in the right direction to go beyond the anecdotal, the benefits can then be shared more extensively.
A version of this article was published in The Straits Times.