I strongly believe that collaboration is the way forward in making the world of work inclusive and accessible to all who wish to work. Sharing best practice and learning from each other makes it easier for employers to find ways to improve their own practice. When I asked employers for examples of innovative practice in their own organisations I was overwhelmed with the response, and I will be sharing these with you, in no particular order, over the next few weeks and months. Some examples are about policies and procedures, and others are about how specific employees were enabled to thrive in that organisation. To kick us off we’ll look at how Rank recruited and employed a recent employee, Ben Gordon:
Ben applied for the role of Learning and Development Administrator at Rank, and advised them that he has a disability and uses a wheelchair. Given this information it was arranged for the Head of Learning and Development to interview Ben at his home. During the interview the role content was discussed in detail and discussions took place surrounding how as a company Rank could accommodate Ben’s disability to enable him to work for them.
Ben expressed during his interview that he would like to work in an environment with other people, rather than always being on his own at home. He was interviewed along with a number of other candidates and was considered the best candidate and so was offered the role.
Taking into consideration his request to work with others in a team, it was arranged for Ben to share his work time between his home and at an office in one of the local Grosvenor Casino Clubs (part of the Rank chain). To ensure that Ben was able to carry out his role in the most comfortable way possible Rank set up an office in his home and arranged for him to have a modified desk. In addition they worked closely with Access to Work to support travel for Ben to enable him to get out and about for meetings etc. Team meetings, previously held elsewhere, were relocated to the Midlands area to enable Ben to attend.
His Line Manager, Debbie Conroy, the HR Training and Development Manager, tells me that Ben is popular and reliable and that he produces excellent work. He is technically literate and creative and has proved to be a real asset to the team.
I also spoke to Ben, who said he was pleasantly surprised at how very helpful and welcoming Rank had been. They worked with him to find working arrangements that not only accommodated his disability but also his personality. For example, in addition to ensuring his working arrangements at home were suitable (by providing a height-adjustable desk), they met his preference to work with other people by arrangung for some of his work to be carried out in a local venue with the rest of the team. So that he wouldn’t be excluded from team meetings, they are now held in this location. And they were happy to for him to work 10.00am – 6.00pm instead of the normal 9.00am – 5.00pm as his energy levels are low first thing in the morning. Ben says he already feels very much a part of the team and is very much enjoying his role at Rank.
This is a good example of where relevant and helpful adjustments were made which enabled the organisation to hire a talented employee they may otherwise have lost. Little cost was involved, but much thought, and a willingness to be creative.
Do you have any examples of good practice around employing disabled people? If so, please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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