Spotlight on Talent – Savan

Another in our ongoing series, showcasing our talented candidates. This time it’s Savan’s turn.

Photo of Savan
Savan

What kind of role would your skill-set and experience make you ideally suited for?

The ideal role for me would be as a Junior Video Editor or Junior Content Creator

What qualities do you have that would make an employer really want to employ you?

I am hardworking and very organised but also I enjoy creating content and work really well in a team. I am also Autistic which I feel will greatly benefit any employer who is looking for a unique perspective to the job at hand.

What would a prospective employer need to do to access your talent?

Frequent communication and making sure I am taking enough breaks as once I’m really focused I forget to eat and drink enough. Also making the workplace Autism friendly would be very helpful.

If any employer would like to access James’s talent, please get in touch with Jane on janeh@evenbreak.co.uk. There is no recruitment fee (we aren’t an agency – we just want to demonstrate the talent that employers are missing out on if they ignore disabled candidates!)

Inclusion at

Evenbreak employer L & Q Group is a regulated charitable housing association and one of the UK’s most successful independent social businesses. The L&Q Group houses around 250,000 people in more than 95,000 homes, primarily across London and the South East.

L & Q offices

We wanted our candidates to know more about this amazing organisation and how welcoming they are to disabled candidates and employees. Here are their answers to our questions:

Why is it important to L & Q to employ disabled people? 

It’s an important part of our social contract with the communities we serve that our organisation reflects the makeup of our residents. We want to be an organisation ofdisabled people rather than fordisabled people. Beyond that, we share the same requirements for diverse talent that all organisations have: minimising Groupthink, increased productivity and innovation, accessing the widest range of talent possible. L&Q are doing ground-breaking things that haven’t been attempted before. If we continue to do things the same way then we won’t achieve our ambitious goals.

Apart from advertising on Evenbreak, how else have you made your recruitment process accessible and inclusive? 

We have made a number of improvements, including using anonymised CVs at sift to minimise unconscious bias in the process. Additionally, all recruitment staff and hiring managers receive explicit training in unconscious bias in the hiring process as part of the training package on recruitment. 

We ask candidates if they have any requirements we need to accommodate when inviting to interview and our recruitment portal has accessibility options to make viewing our vacancies and applying for roles easier for those that need it.  If necessary, we’re able to undertake interviews via Skype or using other platforms if accessing the office is problematic for a candidate.

Do you offer flexible working? 

We are as flexible as we can be, including remote working and flexible hours whenever possible. Given the wide variety of roles and responsibilities at L&Q, there is no ‘one size fits all’: it’s a conversation to be had between colleague and manager on what works for the individual and the business. 

What else do you offer disabled employees? 

There is a talent management offer for ALL staff which includes access to mentoring, learning and development and appropriate career progression tools.

We have an employee Wellbeing programme, iMatter, which has four pillars: mental health, physical health (including physical impairments and long-term illness), financial wellbeing and life skills (for example: first aid, fire safety, online security). 

Reasonable adjustments are, of course, available for any staff requiring them and we have 25 Mental Health First Aiders across the organisation.

Our L&Q Academy is helping us to become a more accessible and attractive local employer with a reputation for investment in staff. It delivers our apprenticeships and graduate programme, and provides developmental opportunities for staff.

Through the Academy staff at all levels can train and achieve higher level and technical qualifications and increase their earning power. The Academy is there to support anyone who wants to work for L&Q, but we’re also keen to encourage our residents and others living in our communities to benefit from the various opportunities available. 

Have you been recognised for inclusion? 

Disability Confident Committed logo

We are a Disability Confident (Committed) Employer and hold an Investors in People Gold award. Recently L & Q won Best HR Policy at the 2019 Diversity in Housing awards.

In a nutshell, why would a disabled candidate choose to apply to L & Q? 

For the same reasons anyone would apply to L&Q – a social enterprise that delivers genuine impact in communities and is at the forefront of tackling the housing crisis, whilst providing a competitive rewards package. 

Our offer as an employer should start from this strong base for everyone, whilst recognising that some groups of people see value in the additional things we do to for and with different groups of people. Among others, our staff particularly enjoy the inclusive culture, the empowerment to get on with the job and working with great colleagues. 

Find current opportunities with L & Q here

Disability and the NHS – it isn’t just about the patients

Image shows a stethoscope on top of NHS documents

When you work for the NHS you are taught that you don’t matter. Patients come first. But what makes the NHS remarkable isn’t its size or the ethos of healthcare for all (although that’s hard to beat). It’s the people who work in it. They are remarkable. And it wasn’t until I left, that I realised it was the people who work within the NHS I missed; even more than my vocation. The care provided when services are so overstretched and chronically underfunded is remarkable. And the stress people are under from doing this day after day, is remarkable.

You soon become very used to giving your all. You get used to not drinking or eating throughout the day and rarely going to the toilet. You get used to having to pay high fees to park at work. And not being able to park at work; even though you’re paying! Sadly, you get used to being shouted at, scorned and even attacked. And you become something of a superhero on an everyday basis.

You advocate for your patients, stand up for what’s right and become an expert and innovative problem solver. Your patients make it worth it. And you look after your patients to the best of your ability. So you put yourself last. And you learn that staff don’t seem to matter. Wellbeing, disability, long term conditions are things that affect patients, not staff. Despite evidence that shows staff who are happy in their work and feel well-treated themselves will feel better motivated to treat patients well.

Unfortunately, this comes at a cost. It’s no surprise that suicide rates of clinicians are far higher than the national average. It’s no surprise that staff in the NHS are far more likely to experience debilitating levels of work stress. And it’s no surprise that NHS staff are leaving in high numbers.

But there are signs of positive change…

Last week I attended the NHS Disability Summit and heard from some folk doing things a different way. I’ll admit I attended the event feeling pretty cynical; but got a few surprises. For example, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) is the seventh most inclusive employer in the UK in the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers list. This is mind-blowing to me. Changing something in the NHS is incredibly hard. Yet this Trust has made inclusion a priority and risen above large corporates UK wide in doing so. They’re a disability confident employer, a Stonewall champion, and their staff networks effect change every day within the Trust. And they’re not alone. The list includes seven other NHS Trusts.

So what’s changed and how? I suspect the Head of Diversity and Inclusion, at NHS Employers, Paul Deemer, might have something to do with it “Our fourth Disability Summit represented significant steps forward in our journey towards greater equality and inclusion for disabled staff. Firstly, a significant percentage of the audience were people with disabilities. And secondly, approximately 90% of the presenters had either a visible or hidden disability. We’re learning from each other every day; our aim was a truly diverse, truly inclusive event for the disabled staff who attended and (hopefully) for those who followed the event through social media.”

Another highlight was brilliant speaker and #RollModel Dr. Hannah Barham-Brown. We asked her “What one thing would you tell NHS Trusts to do to attract talented disabled staff?” and Hannah replied, “Let us know we’re welcome”.

The gauntlet is thrown.

To find out more about disability inclusion or advertise jobs on our accessible job board email info@evenbreak.co.uk or visit www.evenbreak.co.uk

Spotlight on Talent – James

At Evenbreak, we are always amazed at the talent within our candidate pool, and will be showcasing some of our candidates. If you are an employer looking for talent, watch this space!

Today we are putting the spotlight on James. Here are his answers to our questions:

What kind of role would your skill-set and experience make you ideally suited for?

 From 1989 to 2018, I was a teacher of EAP (English for Academic Purposes), ESP (English for Specific Purposes) and General English, mostly at University level in the Middle East and Turkey. During this period (1995 – 2000), I worked in Sales and Marketing in ELT (English Language Teaching) Publishing in Turkey and all Middle East. I have held 2 management positions in University, was IELTS (International English Proficiency exam) Assessor from 2007 – 2013, and presented twice at international ELT conferences in UK and Poland in 2015.

Before I was a teacher, I worked in Customer Relations. In 2016, I made a film and am currently involved in story-telling, preparing teaching materials in book form and am writing a novel.

 I hold a Masters in Education, teaching qualifications and a PG Diploma in Educational Leadership and Management. My skillset, therefore, is varied.  While it focuses mostly on teaching, and all the skills that entails, the kind of role I am seeking is something pedagogic, creative and developmental. 

What qualities do you have that would make an employer really want to employ you?

Primarily, I have teaching and presentation skills, but I am also competent in using computer, mostly Word, Excel, Powerpoint, web-browsing, Podcasting and Film-making software. In addition, I am confident in customer-facing roles.

 I feel I am experience-rich, culturally aware, determined, conscientious, positive and extremely honest and reliable.

In June 2018, I was diagnosed with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. This is progressive but only affects my balance and walking and not cognitive skills, nor experience and knowledge.

What would a prospective employer need to do to access your talent?

Since my diagnosis, which came as rather a shock, I have been unemployed but have spent my energies trying to fight against my condition. I am therefore immediately available. 

A prospective employer would need to offer a challenging, interesting and creative role, taking advantage and demanding the skills I have to offer. In return, I would offer all my experience and all the qualities I feel I have. In short, I am open to be inspired.

If any employer would like to access James’s talent, please get in touch with Jane on janeh@evenbreak.co.uk. There is no recruitment fee (we aren’t an agency – we just want to demonstrate the talent that employers are missing out on if they ignore disabled candidates!)

Are You an Aspiring Architect?

Advert for a “Practice Shared” session at Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects are offering disabled people interested in a career in architecture an experience at their offices at 10 Stock Orchard Street, London N7 9RX on 8 June, 2.00 – 6.00. Visit http://tiny.CC/practiceshared  for info

(Please note that the offices are not accessible to wheelchair users, being predominantly n the 1st and 2nd floors with no lift)

Two portfolio review slots have been reserved for Evenbreak members, to book contact natalie@swarch.co.uk

Have Your Say in Disability Research

Disabled researchers wanted – join today!           

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC) – www.ridc.org.uk – is a leading UK expert in user-centred research involving disabled and older consumers. 

An independent charity with over 50 years’ experience of specialist research, it has an active consumer research panel of nearly 1,000 people.

RiDC’s board of twelve trustees all have personal experience of disability.

For far too long there’s been disjointed planning in the design of products and services in the UK.

There’s also been an ongoing failure to appreciate people’s real life needs for products and services to be fully accessible and inclusive.

RiDC is determined to improve things with the help of members of its consumer research panel. The RiDC panel consists of people of all ages throughout the UK who’ve a wide range of disabilities and impairments with real-life experience, knowledge and insight.

Disabled people are absolutely vital to RiDC’s research. And now RiDC needs even more people to join its panel.

So if you are a disabled or older person living in the UK, then why not use your knowledge and experience to help RiDC with this important research? 

You can find out more at: http://bit.ly/RiDCResearchPanel

As a valued panel member, you may be asked to take part in mystery shopping, usability testing of products, surveys and questionnaires and focus groups.

RiDC will offer you research to do only when it becomes available in your area and if it is appropriate to you and your interests.

Generally, RIDC covers your time and expenses. Plus, because each research project is based on you and your experience, it’s usually pretty interesting.

Join the RiDC consumer research panel now online at: http://bit.ly/RiDCResearchPanel

You can join over the phone if you prefer. Please ring RiDC on 020 7427 2460 and then we’ll phone you back at a convenient time to sign you up.

STOP PRESS: 
And there’s a new product review website called Rate it! – product reviews by and for disabled people. Find out more at: http://bit.ly/RateIthome

To find roles with inclusive employers, visit Evenbreak’s specialist job board, run by and for disabled people

How to hunt for an inclusive employer

The world of work is changing. And I’m seeing that like my own priorities, candidates’ priorities have changed too. My last job search was vastly different from previous searches. I wasn’t looking for a specific role or a specific salary. The hours I worked weren’t as important. Or the location. I was looking for an inclusive employer with values aligned to my own. And a role that would enable me to have social impact. No easy feat!

Many of today’s candidates want flexibility, a positive culture, and work environment. And like me, they look for organisations with strong values. If you have a disability, a long-term health condition or carer responsibilities, these matter even more. So how do you hunt out a forward-thinking, inclusive employer? Here are a few of the things to consider…

Woman working on a computer

1) Their values are visible throughout the organisation

A website is a great place to start. Can you find their values? Is their website accessible? Do they show customers and candidates evidence of their ethics, values, and priorities? In contacts with the organisation, how are you treated? If you call up and ask about accessibility, what response do you receive?

2) They don’t just listen to their employees; they act too

Most employees want flexibility in their work. Has this been put into place or is it still being talked about? Do they advertise their vacancies as flexible? Do they have remote vacancies? Do they have employee networks? Are sickness and annual leave policies the legal minimum. Or is staff wellbeing prioritised?

3) It’s not just lip service; they commit to inclusion

Look for signs of positive action towards inclusion. How do they choose to attract candidates? Via mainstream, traditional strategies only? Do they put money and resources behind inclusion? Or is inclusion limited to a paragraph on their website? Do they purposefully target underrepresented groups to increase diversity? Look at their job adverts. Are they open to all or do they only appeal to a few? Are their values clear? Here’s a great example from Guidant Global of what to look for in a job advert.

In a nutshell, you’ll need to become something of a detective to find an organisation that walks the walk. But the result is worth it and for many, it can be life changing.

To keep in the loop about opportunities for candidates email info@evenbreak.co.uk or visit www.evenbreak.co.uk

Housing Association giant L&Q commits to disability inclusion with Evenbreak

L&Q has partnered with two leading not-for-profit organisations to ensure it is offering the best service to its disabled staff and residents. As part of their disability inclusion initiative, L&Q will work with Evenbreak, to reach and retain more talented disabled people.Image shows a picture of a wheelchair symbol with the words 'step free route' above an arrow

L&Q is also working with disability charity Scope to develop housing advice content for its website and advice line. The two organisations have worked together for the last 18 months to upskill L&Q’s employability service so that they can better engage and support their disabled residents in securing sustainable employment.

Disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. To reduce the barriers facing disabled people, L&Q will advertise all its jobs on Evenbreak’s website, a specialist job board run by and for disabled people.

L&Q’s other disability inclusion initiatives for 2019 include:

  • Improving physical access for disabled staff, residents, and visitors over and above legal compliance“It’s important that there are no barriers to disabled people working at L&Q, and that includes at the very start of their journey as a prospective L&Q employee.”
  • Organising disability awareness training by Enhance UK
  • Upskilling staff so they can give great customer service to disabled residents
  • Reporting on the disability pay gap from 2019 as part of L&Q’s annual Fair Pay report
  • Offering flexible working for all its roles, including in its contact centre, which will break down barriers for disabled staff or carers
  • Becoming a Disability Confident committed employer, which means that candidates are guaranteed an interview if they meet the job criteria
  • Working with Genius Within to help staff understand ‘neurodiverse’ conditions such as autism

Jan Gale, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at L&Q, said: “By partnering with Evenbreak, we are investing in our people. We want our workforce to reflect the diverse make-up of our residents, and we also want to attract people with a wide range of different skills and expertise.

“If we can harness the creativity and innovation that comes from diverse teams, it will help us play our part in solving the housing crisis. There is a huge array of talent out there that organisations can’t afford to ignore as we seek to deliver quality services to our residents whilst building new homes to tackle the supply gap.

Jane Hatton, Founder and Director at Evenbreak, said: “We are delighted that L & Q are leading the way on disability inclusion for housing associations. The benefits of employing disabled people can have an enormous positive impact on all aspects of social housing, including having a more diverse workforce that residents can relate to. Advertising all of their vacancies on Evenbreak will support L&Q in being the type of organisation that excels.”

Stephanie Coulshed, Programme Lead at Scope said: “Based on our in-depth research into the information that disabled people need about housing, Scope’s content designers will collaborate with subject experts at L&Q to develop accessible advice that helps people solve problems. We believe that L&Q’s knowledge of housing issues and commitment to tackling them, combined with Scope’s expertise in content design, will result in an outstanding partnership that has real impact. “

If your organisation has an employment opportunity and you’d like to reach more diverse candidates, or if you have a disability and would like to find an opportunity with an inclusive employer, follow this link to Evenbreak or email adame@evenbreak.co.uk.

How wise is recruiting for ‘culture fit’?

I hear so many recruiters say they are looking for ‘culture fit’ when assessing candidates. Is this wise? In my experience, very rarely.

Culture is defined as “the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs of a particular group of people at a particular time” in the Cambridge English Dictionary. Or, put more simply, ‘the way we do things around here’. Seeking out culture fit in candidates assumes that ‘the way we do things around here’ is the best, or even the only way things should be done.

The risk (and I think it’s a big risk) is that the practice of appointing people who share your customs and beliefs feeds into ‘group think’. This is where decision-makers sit around violently agreeing with each other, seeing every situation from the same viewpoint. It has been described as “A phenomenon that occurs when the desire for group consensus overrides people’s common sense desire to present alternatives, critique a position, or express an unpopular opinion. Here, the desire for group cohesion effectively drives out good decision-making and problem solving.” (source)

An organisational culture which has become complacent in thinking it already has all of the answers and can’t be improved prevents growth, innovation, disruption and is potentially dangerous to its future success. Including people who will look at issues through fresh eyes, with different ways of thinking and perspectives, and who will question and challenge the status quo is surely more healthy for the business?

Often, those organisations looking for culture fit are afraid of being questioned or challenged. They want people similar to them, with similar ways of thinking, who will just seamlessly slip in to the organisation without causing any ripples. Whilst this may be easier and more comfortable in the short-term, the long-term risks to the business can be huge.

The world is changing. Rapidly. Those who rely on ‘but we’ve always done it this way’ are denying the reality of the need to change, innovate and develop. Those who look for new, exciting and different ways to do things are able to not just adapt to the changing business environment, but to influence that change.

The next time you are recruiting, instead of looking for someone who will disappear into the background of your existing culture, actively seek someone who might challenge and question the status quo. Someone who is different from you. Someone who brings different experiences and ways of thinking with them. Are you brave enough?

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs