Time equals money. So why would recruiters hire someone with a disability, when they have several able-bodied candidates, who might not need extra support while working? To be honest, if I was a recruiter I would probably think the same. However, recruiters need to realize they can make a return on the investment when they recruit individuals with disabilities who may need a helping hand.
This is not a theory and I can show you from my own personal experience that hiring people with differences is not only nice but smart!
My brother is 20 years old and never in his life has he had a job. For years now he has been applying and applying for any entry-level job to work for. He always manages to score an interview, but that’s how far he always gets in the recruitment process. Why is this? If his resume is perfect and has all the qualified skills necessary for that job, why is he always being rejected? On his resume it states he has good time management, he’s proactive, and is a team player – all great qualities! However, when the recruiter finds out he is legally blind, all his amazing qualities are suddenly forgotten in the job interviews. This may be because the recruiters might think that training someone for a job with a disability could be deemed as ‘too much time and work’.
My brother has always known he’ll have challenges in life that aren’t fair. He’ll never get to drive, he’ll never live alone, and so on… but resilience is key! I am now happy to say that last week my younger brother, Luke scored his very first job at Coles supermarket as a shelf packer. After years and years of applying for jobs, Coles chose to look past his disability and recruit Luke based on his skills and experience.
In the picture on the top right is a photo of myself, my dad, and Luke (from left to right) for your enjoyment.
Diversity and inclusivity in the workplace means that a company hires a wide range of various individuals. Diversity is often misconceived as solely multicultural matters, however, it also applies to a diversity of age, ethnicity, gender, race, language, sexuality, background, education, and so on.
More diversity and inclusion within companies is not only seen as more desirable to work for by potential future employees, but they also manage to outperform and outshine their competitors. For every company, it is beneficial to have a wider perspective, which will illustrate a positive image to the public eye.
Let me tell you something. As humorous as its sounds, when Luke first told his friends and family he got a job at Coles, almost everyone made a joke about how they’ll never shop at Woolworths again and how Coles is now their favourite supermarket. Even I managed to say this unoriginal joke, but there is some truth to what everyone was joking about.
See, to my friends, family, and I, we all now see Coles as a diverse and inclusive company. Coles could’ve easily have hired someone who doesn’t have a disability but they didn’t. They hired Luke. Continually, the Coles recruiters chose to acknowledge all the amazing skills on Luke’s resume, despite his blindness. And even though Luke may need extra help, support, or encouragement while working, my friends and family now all see Coles as a company that is happy to lend a helping hand. Therefore, this makes a lot of us now choose to shop at Coles compared to other supermarkets.
Put a wide range of world views into one room, and you’ll come out the other side with superior ideas. It’s simple logic: When you put employees of different backgrounds, different cultures, different nationalities, and different perspectives come together, everyone shares a slightly different outlook on the job and the problem at hand. Therefore, that’s a benefit, as far as your success is concerned.
Sameness breeds sameness. Sameness is also very boring, be unique! If you only employ people who are from similar cultures, perspectives, and socioeconomic circumstances – then you’re limiting your companies innovation and creativity. However, having employees from diverse backgrounds will bring a broad range of solutions to achieve a common goal.
Source: Forbes – ‘Diversity + Inclusion = Better Decision Making At Work’
The Harvard Business Review recently published research showing that “… people like to fit in, so they are cautious about sticking their necks out. When we have a strong, homogeneous culture, we stifle the natural cognitive diversity in groups through the pressure to conform.”
Having diversity in a workplace goes a long way towards helping your employees feel included, no matter who they are or where they come from. Inclusivity does help deteriorate any barriers and decreases people’s fear of being rejected. Continually, individuals who would not normally voice their opinions before or step up and become a leader will feel more comfortable too when they feel included.
Relatability is an amazing marketing strategy. If customers or potential employees discover that a company represents a diverse workplace, it makes them feel like they can relate to the company more. Having advertisements that showcase differently-abled, ethnically diverse, or matured aged people promotes a positive reputation, generates a more diverse client base, increases marketplace awareness, and encourages applicants to apply.
Achieving workplace inclusivity and diversity demonstrates you are bringing out the very best of your employees and allowing them to reach their full potential. By doing so, your workplace benefits as it encourages a more varied and innovative talent pool. The company boosts it’s reputation, has a variety of perspectives, allows for more creativity, has improved performances and increased marketing opportunities.