The Business Case for Creating an Inclusive Workplace - The HR Reporter Magazine - June 2012
COVER STORY , HE BUSINESSTCASEFORCREATINGAN INCLUSIVE ORKPLACEWSo, why are more organizations not embracing the concept?BY SUSAN STANTON T I " he ability to think "out side the box" is one of the greatest strengths employees with disabilities can bring to a workplace, according tions need to do in order to reap the many benefits of this virtually untapped pool of talent. "Theres a compelling business case why its good for your organization," to Sharon Myatt, employment says Debbie Yip, vice-president development consultant with of human resources and divers JOIN, the Ontario Job Opportunity ity at proLearning innovations, Information Network for Persons a leading HR consulting firm. with Disabilities. A network of 25 "Employees with disabilities stay community agencies, JOIN helps on the job longer, take fewer people with disabilities find jobs, breaks and their performance is and helps employers recruit quali typically higher." fied candidates. But to capture this talent and "One of the things I hear often reap the benefits , organizations from employers who have really need to let go of preconceived made a commitment is that people ideas about hiring the disabled, with disabilities bring a fresh per fully embrace the new Integrated spective to the workplace ," says Accessibility Standards under Myatt. "Theyve had to think out the Accessibility for Ontarians side the box to be able to communi with Disabilities Act (AODA) (see cate and advocate for themselves." sidebar) to eliminate barriers to Its an asset that organizations employment, create a culture of seeking creativity and innovation openness, trust and opportunity value most in their employees. in the workplace, and make a solid Ironically, thinking outside commitment to building an inclu the box is also what organiza sive workforce. HR PROFESSIONAL
PARTICIPATION organization, I still think organ • 90 per cent of disabled employeesRATES TOO LOW izations can do more." did as well or better at their jobsWhile many business and organ So whats keeping organ than non-disabled co-workers.izations , public and private, in izations thinking " inside the • 86 per cent rated average or bet Ontario and across Canada are box"? To some extent it s the ter in attendance.passionate about employment myths and stereotypes that still • when accommodation is neces equity and diversity, many others abound about the costs and dif sary for employees with disabil still dont get it. Thats clear from ficulties of employing people with ities, 20% cost nothing, and 50%Ontario stats alone: more than 1.5 disabilities. cost less than $500.million Ontarians have a disabil The government of Newity (15.5 per cent). Of those, 49.5 EXPLODING Brunswick identifies 19 addiper cent are not working for pay THE MYTHS tional falsehoods in its publication,at a job or business, compared to Sharon Myatt enumerates some of Myths about Hiring P~rsons with24.5 per cent for people without the things organizations say when Disabilities (see sidebar below).disabilities. they think about hiring the dis Most recently engaged in This discrepancy is also appar abled: "Im too busy. This is going coaching employers and employent to people who work in the field . to cost me a lot of money. Its going ees on the implementation of theMyatt is enthusiastic about JOINs to be time-consuming, and people Customer Service Standard underBusiness Leadership Network, are going to take time off. I cant AODA, Yip says its part of her jobwhich brings together top com treat a person with a disability the to dispel the myths about peoplepanies across Canada to share same as I can their non-disabled with disabilities in the workplace.best practices, learn and strat counterpart." During workshops , Yip asksegize about AODA, promote the From Lamonts perspective , participants how they feel abouthiring of people with disabilities, "Everybody seems to be working persons with disabilities in thediscuss accommodation strategies harder, longer, with less. So employ workplace . The most commonand more. "But I have to be really ers will say, I want to hire someone response , says Yip , is that "theycandid," says Myatt. "Given the and they have to be on the ground can only be in certain roles." Yipsnumber of employers we have in running and fully productive. This response is, "Thats true, but every this country, we are now up to 40 is where the myths come in." body can only be in certain roles .BLN members. Thats great. We Deloitte Canadas 2010 report, I can only be in a certain role . Ifare delighted with that. But its not The Road to Inclusion: Integrating the requirement of the job is toenough." people with disabilities into the carry 50 pounds above my head in Anne Lamont, President and workplace, includes statistics that a warehouse, Im not qualified. SoCEO of Career Edge Organization refute some of these myths: we have to change our thinking-sees the same hesitation in employers to hire people with disabilities . Career Edge offers threepaid internship programs, one of MYIHS &FACTS: _ _ __ which-Ability Edge-connects Here are just a few of the 19 myths to be foun d in New Brunswicks publication employers with bright and talented Myth. about Hiring Person. with Oi.abiliti••: graduates who have self-declared Employees with disabilities are more prone to on-the-job injuries. disabilities. Four U.S. studies found that individuals with disa bilities experience fewer These individuals "manage disabling injuries than the average amployee exposed to the same hal8rd. their disability extremely well Employeeswith disabilities can only fill entry-level positions. through accommodation ," says Almost 75 per cent of working age adults with disabjlities had a high school Lamont. Ability Edge has placed diploma or higher education. more than 450 interns with Employees with disabilities are more difficult to supervise. nearly 200 employers-a laud Employeeswith disabilities are 110 more difficult to supervise than employees able achievement. But the Ability without disabilities. Edge program is still the small Employees With disabilities cant be fired or disciplined. est of the three intern programs, Employees with disabilitiesare subject to the same performan ce sta ndards and notes Lamont, and the participa guidelines as othe r employees. tion rate is lower than shed like Source: rrr.gnb.&8/0018/CSO/POF/MYlh~lOBuSIIfS~lOEIG.,df. to see. "Regardless of the size ofHRPROMAG.com May/June 2012 23
COVER TORY these are the requirements of the really support the concept of build She points to the success of Randyjob, what are the abilities of the per ing accessible workplaces. Once an Lewis, vice-president of the U.s.son applying for the position." organization embraces these con based Walgreens and the speaker And when you look at the require cepts, their enthusiasm soars. "They at JOINs March 28, 2012 BLNments of the job, make sure they inspire me by how much they are meeting. Lewis hired 700 disabledare bona fide, says Yip. "Open your embracing it," says Yip. employees (or 40 per cent of themind" to possible accommodations. And theres even better news for workers) at a Walgreens distribuIf an employee with one arm applies organizations-employees with tion centre equipped with touchfor the warehouse job, for example, disabilities actually benefit the screens and flexible work stations"Do they really have to lift 50 workplace. and watched productivity shoot uppounds over their heads? Is there a 20 per cent higher than the comforklift available to everyone? Maybe panys other distributions centres. thats not a bona fide job require Walgreens is now using thatment. Maybe I could hire the person model for its other centres and with one arm because they could sharing its experiences and strat work the forklift." egies with employers around the Focusing on abilities is essential, globe. "Just by having him speak says Lamont. "If you bring some will get a lot more employers inbody into a supportive environment, Canada saying, You know what,it demystifies the discussion around heres the evidence," says Myatt..a disability. The reality is the ques As well as being more product tion will come up, Do you need any ive, employees with disabilities are accommodation to do this job? And often more dependable and loyal it shouldnt be a threatening ques THE BUSINESS than their co-workers without dis tion because the individual is work CASE EMERGES abilities, and staff retention is sig ing for a company that says, I know While Canada still has a way to go nificantly higher, according to Im hiring someone with a disabil in terms of developing its own sta Deloittes The Road to Inclusion. ity and Im prepared to provide the tistics to support the business case That adds up to savings of millions accommodation they require." for hiring the disabled, says Myatt, of dollars every year in hiring and When organizations focus on the enough information is available to training costs," says the report. abilities, rather than the disabil show that disabled employees con This finding is supported by the ities of potential employees, much tribute much to the bottom line. experiences of companies oper resistance goes out the window, One of the ways they do this is ating in Ontario. BMO Financial says Yip. Organizations begin to simply by being more productive. Group, for instance, has workedINTEGRATED STANDARDS UPDATE By January 1, 2012, private sector organiza not intend to apply penalties immediately but • providing individualized emergencytions were to have come into compliance with rather will try to assist companies to come response information to employees withboth the Customer Service Standard (Ontario into compliance with the requirements." Still, disabilities who require assistance inRegulation 429/07) and the Emergency organizations "should complete implementa an emergency in a manner that they canPreparedness requirements in the Integrated tion as soon as possible," says Reid. understand, andAccessibility Standards (Ontario Regulation For an overview of the Customer Service • providing individuals with disabilities,191/11) under the Accessibility for Ontarians Standard, see the AODA Update by Alison Ada upon request and in an accessible format,with Disabilities Act (AODA). The deadline in the January 2012 issue of HR Professional. any emergency procedures, plans or pubfor reporting compliance with the Customer The MCSS has produced plenty of resources lic safety information that are available toService Standard is December 31, 2012. to help you come into compliance, including the public. However, its likely that enforcement a webcast. toolkit, guide, template and online Tip sheets and guides are available fromactions will not be taken immediately, says reporting tool. Youll find them at www.mcss. MCSS to help companies and organizationsHolly Reid, a lawyer with Blake, Cassels gov. 0 n.ca/en/m c ss/p ro gra ms/ac cess ibi Ii ty/ come into compliance with these obliga& Graydon, LLPs labour and employment custo merSe rvi ce/ index. aspx. tions, says Reid (www.mcss .gov.on.ca/en/group. "What weve heard from the Ministry According to Reid, the emergency pre mc ss/p rograms/a c cess i bil i ty/oth er _sta nof Community and Social Services (MCSS) paredness obligations in the Integrated dards/emergencies.aspx). For some additionto date suggests that the government does Standards include: al advice, check out the article, Emergency24 May/June 2012 HR PROFESSIONAL
with JOIN to develop recruitment Consider these sound business stand their markets, and be seenprograms for people with disabil reasons for hiring people with as an employer of choice "supportities in its customer contact centre disabilities: the hiring of people who representin Mississauga, ON. It has hired The talent pool is decreasing. their communities and in their64 employees with disabilities and "Workers are getting older and communities are people with disreports that its turnover rate for there are fewer skilled people in abilities," says Lamont. This opensemployees with disabilities at the the current labour pool to fill jobs up huge markets, and builds acentre is 6 .3 per cent compared to as they become available," notes positive image of the organization.•17.3 per cent for the total population. the Road to Inclusion. "To find the"Theres no question that inclusion people to fill these positions, busi MOVING FORWARDat BMO has instilled a much deeper ness and governments must look Theres no doubt that once busi":sense of engagement from our for talent in every corner of the com nesses in Ontario comply with theemployees and that has a very direct munity and be more open about who Integrated Accessibility Standardsand positive influence on employee they hire. People with disabilities requirements, they are going tosuccess and the banks bottom line," are part of an untapped market be in a better state of "readiness"says Jennifer Reid, vice-president, people with a variety of skills at a when it comes to hiring and manCustomer Contact Centre. variety of levels." aging disabled employees. And then theres Mark Wafer, They contribute to creativity. But is that enough? "What swho owns six Tim Hortons stores innovation and problem solving. also needed is leadership," saysin Toronto and has hired more Ernst & Young, one of Canadas Lamont. "And with the leadership,than 70 people with disabilities for Best Diversity Employers for 2012, accountability has to be expectedpositions ranging from customer says that companies with sustain of people."service to management. Wafer says able inclusive initiatives have a com Leadership is needed to build that not only do disabled employ petitive advantage in a globalized a culture of openness and trustees stay on the job much longer, economy. "Diversity of thought and in the workplace, where disabledbut other employees also stay put experience can help lead to improved employees have opportunities tobecause they feel good about the problem-solving and the ability to grow and advance, and where non inclusive environment. Wafers take advantage of global opportun disabled employees can express stores boast a 35 per cent turnover ities, says Fiona Macfarlane, chief any concerns they have. rate compared to 70-80 per cent inclusiveness officer. "If we can get people with dis in other Tim Hortons stores in They are part of the commun abilities actively engaged in Ontario. The benefits are tangible, ities and markets companies the economy," concludes Anne says Wafer, in terms of training need to reflect. Organizations that Lamont, "then let them get on costs, productivity and more. want to better serve and under- with that." HRPreparedness: new rules if you employ people both Reid and proLearnings Debbie Yip sug ment standard should be relatively easy,with disabilities, at www .healthandsafe gest you work on your employment standard says Yip. "Youve already adopted the philtyontar io.cal HSO/m edi a/HS 0/ Netwo rk Ma g/ requirements-even though they are not yet osophies (of accessibility), so I dont thinkNetworkMag2!Article3a.html . in force . its that different. Its a matter of reviewing Expected soon from the MCSS are policies ·Companies tend to review and revise policies, looking for systemic barriers andand resources for the remaining require their employment-related documentation providing required training to managersments in the Integrated Accessibility relatively regularly: notes Reid. "So what and employees." According to Yip, the costStandards, which cover employment, infor I have been saying to clients is, If you are of coming into compliance should not bemation and communications and transporta already doing a review of your job applica too onerous.tion. "What the Ministry has said is that they tion, your employee handbook, your offer Holly Reid agrees: "Theres significantare going to try to replicate the Customer of employment, your human rights policies, focus on training, accessibility policy andService Standard experience by providing you know these obligations are coming up plan development as well as ensuring thatpolicies on the Integrated Standards that in the future and it would be efficient if you employment documentation references andgive more guidance," says Reid. dealt with them now." recognizes accessibility issues," says Reid. If your company is already in compliance For HR professionals who have already " I think the cost to businesses is "time" inwith the Customer Service Standard and worked on the Customer Service Standard, most respects."the Emergency Preparedness requirement, the transition to working on the employ-HRPROMAG.com May/June 2U12 25.