Why should your workplace be different?

One of the greatest things about the world that we live in is its diversity.

Diversity in business is important because…

…through different experiences, people gain different perspectives, understanding and knowledge that they can bring to your business. With no one customer being exactly the same, it makes good business sense to ensure your staff can meet the needs of diverse consumers.

The modern workplace is made up of a variety of people from different cultures, religions and backgrounds with varying degrees of abilities and, in some cases, disabilities.

What is a disability?

A disability can be anything from mental illness to a physical disability, and everything in between. Some disabilities are obvious while others are invisible.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in five Australians are reported as having a disability, with mental illness being the most prevalent. Having a disability doesn’t mean that a person isn’t productive or can’t be employed; it just means that sometimes they have to find alternative ways of going about doing things.

Employment to a person with a disability is essential as it provides them with their own money, enables them to feel valued, enhances social status and increases self-esteem. Being employed enables the person to feel a sense of identity and assists in raising their standard of living. In fact, these are same reasons everyone has a job!

Is training adaptive?

As a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), we train people with disabilities just like we would anyone else. They have a pre-training review where we assess their capacity to learn as well as determine what type of learner they are. An assessment is made as to whether they need extra support such as a translator or specific equipment to assist them in carrying out their job.

Where necessary, the training is modified to allow for differences in learning styles and abilities.

The person before the disability

Some people are uncomfortable around people with a disability. They’re scared they are going to “say the wrong thing” or may feel sorry for the person with the disability and mistakenly assume that the person is resentful about their disability.

It may be that people aren’t sure what terminology to use when referring to the person with a disability. The golden rule is always put the person before the disability and if you are still unsure about what terminology to use, just ask them!

Set a good example

Like any great leader, set a good example for your staff by being open and accepting of all staff (and customers) regardless of their size, shape, gender, similarities or differences. Not only is it the law that you can’t discriminate against people, but if you did discriminate you could potentially be missing out on creating the best possible team for your business.

Employees with disabilities are just as reliable and hardworking as employees without a disability and a person’s value as an employee should be based on their work ethic, their values being aligned with the values of your business and the ability to contribute to your team.

Yes, some people ARE different but that’s what makes our world enriching and interesting. By being open to the diversity our society has to offer means you have the chance to build and maintain a strong and powerful team, and meet some amazing people along the way.

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