Media Release

The secret to a thriving workforce in 2020 is right in front of Calder employers

Calder employers are being urged to think differently when approaching their employment strategies for 2020 by embracing a diverse, inclusive workforce. This approach is easier than most employers think, and in light of the recent International Day of People with Disability and the Australian Government’s Accessibility Day initiative, there’s no better time for employers to set their businesses up for success for 2020.

Chris Straford, Recruitment Partner for employment services provider, Workways Brunswick, said that preparing for the new year is crucial for businesses, and that prioritising and implementing strategies for diversity will give their business a competitive edge.

“The importance of treating each staff member individually, with the opportunity to identify the important factors they need to help them achieve and how the business will make this happen,” Mr Straford said.

“What business wouldn’t want improved employee engagement and retention, higher morale and productivity and a better reputation?”

Chris said that adopting more inclusive recruitment practises makes plain business and economic sense, as businesses could be missing out on the talent pool of 2.2 million Australians who are of working age, living with disability.

With a shrinking workforce and employers increasingly finding it harder to find good staff, not considering people with disability for roles cuts off 20 per cent of an employer’s potential candidate pool. That doesn’t make sense for businesses or for Australia’s economy.

“Employers who take the time and effort to provide opportunities for those who are often overlooked regularly, will realise that it has the potential to be one of the best decision they have ever made and that the employees become incredible assets to their business,” Chris said.

The immediate and measurable benefits to employing people with disability include:

  • Increased talent pool: Opening-up recruitment processes to include the one in five Australians living with disability connects employers to a higher number of quality candidates, improving the chances of finding the perfect fit for the role.
  • Higher staff retention: Employees who work in an inclusive workplace have been found to be more engaged, more motivated and more productive. Inclusive workplaces have lower rates of employee turnover, with employees reporting higher morale levels and staying in the business longer, meaning employers spend less on recruitment and retraining.
  • Benefits to the bottom-line: People with disability have been found to take less days off than other employees, and generally stay in employment longer. Plus, a recent Accenture study found that companies gained an average of almost 30% in revenue when they offered an inclusive working environment for employees with disability.
  • Enhanced brand reputation: Hiring people with disability can boost brand reputation and customer attraction significantly. Studies have shown that customers and employees are much more loyal to organisations that show a commitment to inclusion and diversity.

Building diversity within the workplace takes deliberate, mindful action, but by embracing change and building it within businesses DNA, can fundamentally transform a business. The immediate changes that can be implemented include:

  • Developing policies around diversity – setting clear, measurable goals with strategies to achieve these goals
  • Looking beyond the stigma – focusing on ability not disability
  • Train existing and new staff on diversity in the workplace for example, use of the correct terminologies and benefits of diverse businesses
  • Build a community – create a diverse, mentally healthy workplace where staff feel safe and have supportive services to use when they need

Changing business practices can change people’s lives

Having worked in employment services for 10 years, Chris has seen firsthand when employers overcome the stigma surrounding employing people with disability, the positive effects don’t just flow on to businesses, but to the employees, too.

“Being accepted and to have the opportunity to feel normal, not ostracised and put into a box is the biggest standout benefit. Meaningful employment opens up people’s lives.”

“It’s so important to assist people through training and mentoring as well as connecting with people to create a comfortable, professional environment that will encourage success and positive outcomes.”

“People with disability want to work, want to feel valued and want to feel like they’re a contributing member of society.

Employment provides increased self-worth, long-term stability, social inclusion, widened social and support networks, not to mention the ability to have a decent roof over their head again or a hot meal on the table every night (which many of us take for granted).

Jobseekers shouldn’t give up, no matter how challenging or disheartening the current situation may be – you can’t control what people do, you can only provide a great opportunity and hope that people will grasp it instead of throwing it away.”

“There’s a job out there for every person, regardless of their personal circumstances.”

For more information, or to find out more about hiring someone with disability, get in touch with Workways VIC: 1800 631 196.

Click to read the Disability Employment Infographic.