Nowadays, employment does not have to be tied with the idea of a typical desk job. This is proven by social enterprise Zambawood and start-up online shopping company Zalora.
For Rachel Harrison, founder and creative director of Zambawood, persons with disabilities and special needs should not be kept at home, but instead empowered and fully integrated into society.
Located in Zambales, Zambawood is a social enterprise that consists of a farm, café and surfing resort catering to people living with autism and other special needs. The company hires locals from the area, and trains them to handle the special needs of the clients.
According to Harrison, people with special needs can do activities like painting, cooking and farming in Zambawood to encourage and uplift their mind-sets that they are doing regular activities, as well.
“What we do is we merge them. I think it is better when they get exposed. It is good for the local community, because it opens their eyes that it is fine to be besides someone with special needs. It is awareness,” Harrison said.
She added: “We are trying to open the Filipino culture to this kind of lifestyle. You can guide those with special needs to be independent. The problem is we do not trust them when, in fact, they are capable. With the proper training, they are able to do so much.”
The 26-hectare Zambawood property used to be the house of Harrison and her family, and is now open for short-staying guests and families with members who have special needs. Zambawood has Julyan’s Farm, which was named after Harrison’s son, who was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old.
Harrison said they are soon expanding to have an arts and skills training center added to Zambawood’s list of amenities. She said the vision for the long term is to provide a platform for adults with special needs to find livelihood and become self-sustaining.
“The idea is to give them employment. My motivation for this is we put our children to school so they have jobs, and they have something to do to sustain themselves. For those with special needs, who will do that? What I am trying to do is to empower them so when they grow old, they will not be a burden to their families,” Harrison said.
Meanwhile, hiring in a millennial setting requires Zalora Human Resource and Corporate Services Departments Head Flip Ruby to be as quirky and energetic as the times.
According to Ruby, Zalora comprises of a millennial majority making hiring processes in the company shift from the traditional tasks and benefits.
Ruby said schools are not anymore the top priority when it comes to hiring individuals.
“The millennials now, the trend is it does not matter what school you came from. It may be a plus factor, yes, but it is not a determinant of me hiring you. We are not discriminating anymore. We have removed that mentality. In a millennial setting, in a start-up setting, it is not the person who came from the best school or whatever. It is talent, and talent can come from anywhere. That is why we are a very diverse company where experience and exposure is what matters and your passion,” Ruby said.
According to Ruby, being passionate and someone who can work well with the team is important in their line of work.
In the digital age, where everything is fast-paced, HR professional should be aware of millennials looking for a sense of purpose in their jobs aside from the nontraditional benefits, Ruby said.
“Millennials are looking for a sense of purpose, wanting to be part of something. What they want is to make sure that what they do adds value to the company. They do not care about the health-care benefits, at least not right now. Not as much as a phone benefit or a laptop. A laptop itself would make you feel proud working for that company,” Ruby said.