27 Nov 2020
Diversity in the workplace is important in creating an inclusive environment as well as enabling all employees to achieve their full potential and as a result, allowing the business to reach its fullest potential. Fleet-management company Netstar, a subsidiary of Altron, is reaping significant benefits for the organisation, through the Netstar e-Deaf programme that diversifies the workforce through the inclusion of differently abled work force.
The programme has succeeded beyond the company’s own expectations in diversifying the workplace in terms of labour relations laws, and to enhancing the Netstar offering to its clients and partners.
“The Netstar e-Deaf Programme has greatly enhanced our offering,” said Netstar MD Pierre Bruwer. “As a business in the telematics and security space, we have very specific needs. Many of our deaf and hard-of-hearing employees have shown incredible abilities that have been able to boost our service.”
Bruwer said Netstar’s deaf employees had helped to improve the brand offering, as their heightened senses were useful in identifying visual breaches from video footage of driver behaviour, breach of company and legal regulations as well as for identifying theft and abuse. The deaf staff members also help to provide real-time Netstar Traffic reports for business-to-business clients
Netstar employs 10 deaf employees and one who is hard of hearing. These staffs are among dozens of differently abled persons on the Netstar team. The company is currently working on expanding the employment opportunities for people living with disabilities in South Africa in the new financial year.
“Clients are becoming ever more demanding, said Bruwer. “They need us to help them identify what is happening within their vehicles – be it driver behaviour, hijackings or regulation breaches. Our telematics service is a valuable means of identifying and implementing cost savings, risk prevention as well as security implantation.
Bruwer said Netstar had found that differently abled employees often had many strengths that could enhance Netstar’s service delivery to their clients. “As we mark Disability Month this year, we are already looking to employ more differently abled persons,” he said.
“We always look to hire the right person for the job, said Bruwer. “Modern technology, such as the Microsoft Teams platform, allows employees to engage in the medium they are most comfortable in, which ensures all staff can communicate and support each other, irrespective of any disability they might have.”
In ensuring continual growth for eDeaf, Netstar has over the past two years donated a total of R 284 000 towards the organisation. These funds were raised during Netstar’s annual Charity Golf Day and used by eDeaf to upgrade their IT labs. Despite the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in hosting the 2020 event, Netstar has donated a further R100 000, to help further eDeaf’s objective of empowering the Deaf community through skills development programmes, enabling them to contribute positively in the country’s economy.