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Case Study of Call Yachol – Israel

Benjamin Gidron, COMAS - Yoram Lavi and Viki Ber, Minga

Abstract: Call Yachol is a social business – a call center that was established in order to employ persons with disabilities. It was founded in 2008 by Dr. Gil Winch, an organizational consultant. Dr. Gil Winch created this business in order to show that persons with disabilities, even severe ones, can perform at similar or higher levels in comparison to persons without disabilities and should be viewed as an asset, not a burden on society. It currently employs 230 workers with a variety of disabilities, both physical and mental, who are being paid regular salaries. Some 30 among them have been promoted throughout the years to managerial positions. The workers live in a wide radius around their workplace and some travel some three hours to get to work. In order to achieve the goal Call Yachol set for itself, it created a unique organizational system that focuses on the person with disabilities and their capabilities, which translates into creating a fit between the person and the task. The overall organizational system resembles a parental one; It focuses on its workers and their characteristics - from the screening process to their training, support activities and fun activities, resulting in a community-like workplace. On the business front, Call Yachol competes well with its competitors that employ non-disabled workers on all parameters such as speed of calls and courtesy. Its customers include companies such as banks, cell-phone, credit card and insurance companies as well as units of the public sector. One of its advantages has to do with the fact that its workers are “stable” and the turnover is low, which reduces expenses on training new workers. As there are no specific policies vis-à-vis the social enterprise category in Israel, the government support of Call Yachol is minimal, paying only for adjustments the company needs to make in order to enable accessibility for its workers. Call Yachol experienced a crisis around this very issue in 2014 when it had to significantly reduce its workforce, but after agreement was reached with the government, it came back to its previous level of activity. Call Yachol’s model is a focus of interest by academics and a variety of professionals and it has developed a Visitors’ Center to accommodate the many visitors it has throughout the year. Currently, plans are being formulated to export Call Yachol’s model to other countries, specifically to the US.