Keywords:  Egypt, inclusive workplace, accessibility, consultancy services, training

Helm

Helm supports employers assess their recruitment and inclusion needs to be based on competencies that best fit each job vacancy through ensuring effective and cost-efficient methodologies that can be easily replicable through i) recruitment job analysis where we review the company’s current disability employment policies, practices, and culture, and collaborate with them to design a disability program, training, and implementation strategy that is tailored to their specific needs and ensure the environment is accepting and accommodating; ii) accessibility consulting: accessibility audits, design, and consulting through detailed field surveys of existing buildings and properties to evaluate their level of accessibility and suggest methods and tools to raise their accessibility.

About the practice at a glance
Name of OrganisationHelm
Type of organisationNGO
Country
of Implementation
Egypt
Year started2016
Funding modelFundraising (individual/ corporate/ foundations), Self- financing

This project has multiple funding streams whereas the business model of the practice involves its sustainability through 20% grants from organizations like Vodafone Egypt Foundation and Drosos as well as using the service model, whereas 80% is from companies that pay for the services provided.

IMPACT

Impact and growth 

Integrating both the accessibility and job analysis reports, helps formulate a bigger picture of the workplace’s current status in regard to how inclusive it is.  

  • Our solution was able to support corporates in taking the right steps towards inclusion, working with more than 70 market leaders from 2018 until 2020, on integrating different accommodations into their factories and offices. 
  • In 2016 we started by 163 audits through our application, all of which were for small retail shops, and a few successful recruitments 
  • To date, we have developed our processes and our practice to have 100 successful recruitments, 
  • a total of 1,063 audits, with 38% more complex facilities, office buildings, malls, national museums, and factories with over 200 partners including Pepsico, P&G, Nestle, and Mars Wrigley, Amazon, Al-Futtaim and Vodafone. 
Innovation 

Developing software that is used as an effective onsite tool to generate automated reports. Connecting it to the job analysis report, it determines the physical, cognitive demands, or other physical working conditions that people with disabilities need to identify the necessary accommodations. Facilitating the transition towards a more inclusive workplace. 

Target group 

It is designed to support employers to better employ and retain persons with disabilities, as well as support them to have equal opportunities and an inclusive employment through 

  • Fostering societies where persons with disabilities and businesses grow together 
  • Empowering all and transcending barriers 

It acts as a tool that facilitates inclusion through achievable accommodations to bridge the gap between employers and persons with disabilities, to empower our partners to look at each individual’s ability and how to ensure their inclusion. 

Other outcomes 

Close cooperation with government entities in Egypt to ensure that inclusion and accessibility are always considered. With the help of our partners from the private sector, and DPOs, the Egyptian president declared that 2018 is the year of persons with disabilities. This has pushed forward and escalated stricter laws that protect the rights and opportunities for persons with disabilities, but also ensuring companies with 50+ employees are effectively hiring 5% persons with disabilities, which entails a lot of accommodations and accessibility changes. 

THEORY OF CHANGE

We asked projects to outline their impact model (also called Theory of Change) – their main target groups, the key activities they offer these target groups, and what impact they want to achieve:

Target GroupActivityImpactIndicator
Private Companies1. Recruitment Job Analysis
2. Accessibility Consulting
Creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace.Number of Persons with disabilities hired in the companies and number of implemented accessibility modifications
Governmental/ Public EntitiesLobbyingReinforcement of the disability law in the workplace for recruitment of persons with disabilities and the law for construction of accessible buildingsNumber of Fines and legal actions applied on companies/ Benefits and positive reinforcement provided for companies who effectively recruit PWD

REPLICATION EXPERIENCE

We have not replicated our innovation yet, but it is a strategic priority and we have a clear idea about what to replicate, where and with which partners. 

We would like to replicate our inclusive workplace assessment services to support the employers assess their recruitment and inclusion needs across the MENA region. We will need non-profit organizations working in the field of disability, governmental entities responsible for the rights of persons with disabilities as well as unions and networks focusing on human resources managers of private and public sectors. 

The aim is to digitize all our processes, not only to increase our efficiency and maintain a high-quality provision of services but also to increase the scalability of our model to be replicated with the lowest cost across different geographical regions and across different sectors. 

Our plans were to replicate this practice with partners in the Gulf, however, our plans are postponed as employers are freezing all recruitment efforts and minimizing spending due to the COVID-19 epidemic. 

ORGANISATIONAL CAPACITY AND STRATEGY

Capacity 

We have a dedicated team, that already travels across 19 governorates in Egypt to perform the assessments and to conduct business development meetings. Our team has also travelled to conduct different services for Helm in four countries in the region, thereby we have a financial budget and allocated team members in place. 

Yes, we have a project owner for this program, with the necessary skills and seniority 

Ramez Maher, Helm Co-Founder & Managing Director. Ramez drives the organization’s vision, strategy, and growth as it provides sustainable and unique ways for different stakeholders to engage in providing accessible and inclusive societies for persons with disabilities. Ramez was certified by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in “Improvement of Accessibility of Social Inclusion – Barrier Free Environment” in Japan, 2016. He was also awarded the Total Start-Upper of the Year for Helm Consulting in 2016. LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ramez-maher-1873395a/ 

Strategy 

It is one of Helm’s 5 KPIS for 2020-2021 that we expand to two new countries in the MENA Region. The KPIs are approved by Helm’s global advisory board as well as the management team. 

Our aim is to replicate the practice in different geographical regions and across different sectors while partnering up with different organizations: 

  • 500 companies to be reached 
  • Two countries in the MENA region 
  • Expand across three different/new sectors  
  • Expand to serve more governmental entities. 

Furthermore, as collaboration is one of the outcomes we seek, we want to share our findings, successful practices and lessons learned with our partners through our business network. 

MOTIVATION

The Inclusive Workplace model by Helm is implemented in around 200 organizations in Cairo, as well as expanded the model to 19 governorates in Egypt. Yet, one of Helm’s KPI’s plan in 2021 is to expand to at least two new countries in the MENA region. 

To fulfil the 2021 plan, we need to learn best practices, methodologies, and efficient tactics on how to better replicate our model.  

The Helm team has already been working on a needs assessment research with key governmental and private stakeholders across four countries in the region; UAE, KSA, Lebanon and Jordan to better understand the potential of accommodating our model.  

We believe that it would be a great added value to be part of this program, as it will enable us to grow our network; allowing us to have a stronger knowledge base and building sustainable learning partnerships. 

Helm’s management and business development teams are striving for guidance to make sure that we take the right steps to ensure the right steps are being taken, as well as developing a clear strategy for replication from experts. 

It is highly values that there will be follow-up support after the program, to ensure the sustainability of the expansion strategy.  

Since Helm is currently positioned as one of the leaders for disability inclusion services in the region, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are benchmarking against the best practices and to transfer this knowledge effectively to all potential public and private entities. 

What is the organisation hoping to learn from taking part in the programme? 
  • How to select the right entry point in the MENA region and within the shortlisted countries and entities. 
  • Support in the strategic and financial planning. 
  • How to expand and grow without affecting the local entity (Helm Egypt). 
  • How to adjust business model to accommodate the expansion.