At Pramerica in Letterkenny, the ADAPT business resource group is providing support for differently abled employees.
Diversity and inclusion are central to any positive company culture today. At Pramerica, business resource groups (BRGs) are one of the ways the company works to make employees feel at home. Its ADAPT BRG, for example, is aiming to create a workplace suitable for people of all kinds of abilities.
“ADAPT stands for abled and differently abled partnering together, and it’s a network of employees that either themselves have a diverse ability, have a family member or a loved one with a diverse ability, or indeed they’re passionate allies of people with different abilities,” HR business partner Louise O’Donnell said.
The group was launched a year ago and, since then, O’Donnell said that the ADAPT team has been working to make changes that are “meaningful to the organisation”.
‘My voice can be heard’
While visiting the company’s office in Letterkenny, we spoke to Michael Magee, who is an actuary and is autistic. He discussed the benefits of having a resource such as ADAPT.
“The ADAPT group offers support through myself in terms of me knowing that there’s always someone in the organisation who knows that autistic people like me may have different challenges to face in working life,” he said.
“Thus, I’m able to talk with people and know that my voice can be heard and respected.
“The group helps by not only ensuring that autistic people know there is a voice looking out for them but it helps them by having a staff that knows how to respond in these cases as well.”
ADAPT is also helping Pramerica to prepare for its future workforce. The group’s team lead in creative services, Catherine Duffy, explained that ADAPT is built from, and contributes to, a company culture that is “massively focused around inclusion and diversity”.
“There are many, many children in Ireland who are being diagnosed with autism and, obviously, they’re going to grow into an adult population that is looking for work,” she said. “We want to be ready for them.”