Top employer Procter and Gamble (P&G) Philippines recently launched their “LIMITLESS” program and their Manila Service Center (MSC) Persons With Disability (PWD) Network. Known for championing a culture of equality and inclusion, P&G is now embarking on how to further disability inclusion in the workplace. The program also aims to enable the company and its employees to become disability confident.
Jeanna Conroy, P&G Manila Service Center PWD Network Leader, shares about the program and her own personal experience. Conroy joined P&G in 2009 starting as a procurement process owner, and now she is P&G’s Treasury and Banking Services Senior Manager. She was diagnosed with retinoblastoma which started in her retina when she was just four years old. This required her to have her left eye removed, resulting in total blindness in her left eye. She uses a prosthetic eye which is prone to infection. She also does not have 3D vision, making it difficult for her to visually measure distance.
In her previous workplace prior to joining P&G, Conroy used to hide her disability to fit in more, often wearing big-rimmed eyeglasses or putting on heavy eyeliners. She tried to hide what other people may see as a deformity because she did not want them to pity her, stare at her prosthetic eye, or have to explain her “lazy” eye.
It means a lot to Conroy to now be in a company that constantly fosters an equal and inclusive workplace culture with P&G now embarking on disability inclusion. “I am grateful to P&G for allowing me to express myself and showcase my accomplishments at work. The fact that I was blind in one eye was never brought up in interviews or as an issue in my day-to-day work,” shares Conroy.
The LIMITLESS program and MSC PWD Network provide a support system and network for people with disabilities. It enables insightful sharing that enables representation. “For employees who have more severe disabilities than mine, and for those who might feel stigma acutely and actively hide their disability, the MSC PWD Network provides support and can give them a voice,” adds Conroy.
Conroy stresses that there may be things that PWDs may be uncomfortable sharing with their managers and colleagues. The MSC PWD Network provides a support system with advocates who can surface insights, needs and concerns to help PWD employees have equal opportunity to perform at their peak, succeed and thrive at work. It supports employees to succeed and be seen beyond their disabilities.
Conroy shares, “As we returned to office, we listened to the concerns and accommodations needed by our colleagues with disabilities. One example was the need for a Filipino Sign Language interpreter during company events. Through the PWD Network, we were able to voice this need so all colleagues can fully engage without barriers at our company events.”
To create equal accessibility and opportunity, P&G also practices using software applications and their features such as live captioning and other visual accessibility tools so that hiring managers, interviewers and employees can leverage these features to successfully conduct interviews, trainings, and meetings with colleagues and applicants with disabilities.
“It is important for companies to be intentional about programs and policies that provide awareness and education for all employees to be disability confident and inclusive. It makes PWD colleagues feel valued, included and able to perform at our best. It also helps all employees be more confident about how to interact and work with colleagues with disabilities,” cites Conroy.
The MSC PWD Network recently organized trainings on Digital Accessibility and Neurodiversity. It will execute more capability sessions in the coming months to further advocate disability confidence among all employees. P&G also practices reverse mentoring among PWD employees and their colleagues as a form of education and engagement. It helps teammates understand things from a PWD’s perspective.
Conroy shares, “With P&G’s various programs that empower PWDs and educate all employees, I became comfortable enough to wear my disability like a badge of pride. I’m thankful for how P&G employees welcome, include, and value everyone’s input and involvement. I’ve never come across a situation in P&G where my physical appearance was a detriment to my results, my chances for promotion, or my inclusion in any group. Every day, I find it to be a driver of success that someone like me is valued in P&G.”
P&G has been an industry thought leader for equality and inclusion in the workplace and beyond. Recently, P&G Philippines was recognized “Top Employer of the Year” Grand Winner and “Diversity Company of the Year” Circle of Excellence Awardee at the 2022 Asia CEO Awards. Last year, the Company was also awarded the highest recognition for the gender-inclusive workplace category in the prestigious United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (UN WEPs) Awards in the Philippines.