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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rostislav Sedlacek

In Australia, three-quarters of workers support diversity in the workplace, yet the representation of workers living with a disability is comparatively low. PeoplePlus is a provider of Disability Employment Services (DES) in 75 locations across Australia and is providing employment assistance for those living with a disability, while also providing support for employers to promote and increase diversity in the workplace.

With 15 per cent of the world’s population living with a disability, now is the time for organisations to take action to become diverse workplaces and reap the benefits of employing Australians living with a disability.
 

Shifting attitudes

When it comes to opening the door to recruiting people with disabilities, recruiters and businesses are becoming more open to initial conversations. A recent report by JobAccess shows that inclusive workplaces are 10 times more likely to be highly effective – a statistic that PeoplePlus JobCoaches take into initial meetings with them.

“Some businesses have initial reservations, especially when they haven’t previously hired or worked with someone living with a disability.

“Having an open conversation is our first goal. We start by providing information about the practicalities of recruiting people living with disabilities and go from there. Everything is always more positive and achievable after a chat,” shared Victoria Berg, Regional Operations Manager of our PeoplePlus DES team.
 

How to market

When presenting individuals living with a disability in the jobs market, our JobCoaches focus on what the individual can do instead of what they can’t do when reverse marketing to businesses and organisations. Further, when a person living with a disability expresses an interest in working, they seek positions in fields and areas where they are truly keen to work, as opposed to working simply for money or career progression.

“When presenting a person living with a disability as a candidate for employment, JobCoaches have someone who is motivated to work and who really wants to be there,” Victoria said.

“We show employees how those living with a disability bring a different element to conversations and group dynamics, which can improve the overall function of a team.

“Practically speaking, we also provide support around workplace modifications – wheelchair ramps, altered desks, and individualised working spaces – we cover all the bases,” Victoria said.

Additionally, JobAccess shared that diversity and inclusion make teams stronger, establishing that those with a diverse workforce are five times more likely to give excellent customer service as opposed to those who don’t.
 

Benefits to job seekers and employers

According to the research undertaken by JobAccess, the cost of employing individuals living with a disability can be as much as 13 per cent lower than other employees. Additionally, 86 per cent of workers living with a disability have either an average or exceptional attendance record.

And the benefit doesn’t end with the employer. Workers who identify as a person living with a disability report increased self-esteem, higher levels of confidence, and an overall improvement to their individual living skills and circumstances.

“The individuals we support to secure employment leave behind any ideation of isolation and show that they are active and contributing members of a community,” Victoria said.

“A recent participant of ours was a man who was previously a long-distance truck driver who now uses a wheelchair.

“He had many years of experience in the industry, so we approached employers who provide similar services in transport and logistics and suggested him for in-house work such as scheduling and reporting,” Victoria said.

“The individuals we support to secure employment leave behind any ideation of isolation and show that they are active and contributing members of a community,” Victoria said.

 

Making a commitment

When hiring individuals living with a disability, a simple commitment to flexibility and understanding is all that’s required.

“We work to a commitment of hours and we build up towards that.

“Communication and negotiation are key factors in our service – and these are things that aren’t even unique to disability employment.

“We’re looking for employers who have maintainable and ongoing positions or roles that may provide a further pathway.

“Our employment incentives range from $6,000 to $10,000+ depending on eligibility, and more often than not, these incentives help businesses overcome any initial trepidation they may have on their employment journey,” shared Victoria.
 

Further Information

The PeoplePlus DES team holds a varied skill set as a group and has the ability to draw knowledge and experience from each other when the work calls for it.

Our innovative Discovery approach represents a step-change in employment service delivery. We make things clear and simple and take the time to listen.

If you or your business are interested in Disability Employment Services, contact us today for personalised and ongoing support from a team that is shifting perceptions in the employment landscape.

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