Disability employment seminarsBY Australian Retailers Association
Do you know that feeling of satisfaction after putting together a piece of furniture from Ikea? You get home with a flat pack, stare at the unfamiliar instructions, dig around in a drawer for an Allen key... and then an hour later you have a brand-new bedside table. It’s all about having the confidence, finding the right tools and the ability to get down to the job.
For Ikea Adelaide, this is its attitude to hiring employees with disability too. The focus is on supporting people to believe they can be productive workers, providing training and ensuring any modifications, and on what the person can do, rather than the disability.
Every Christmas holiday season, the Ikea Adelaide store takes on a few dozen casuals to help with the rush. Those who impress the store with their efficiency and positive, ‘can do’ attitude are kept on if there are any vacancies. Good staff are hard to find at any time, so it’s a smart move to make permanent any casual staff who have proved their worth.
One of those who drew Ikea’s attention last Christmas was Randall*. A casual customer service worker, his friendly, sociable manner and accurate work led the store to make him a permanent, familiar face on the checkout and in other service areas. Randall is also vision impaired and required some equipment modifications – since then he’s become a valued member of the team.
“We took account of Randall’s disability and made some changes, of course,” says Tara Cooper from the Ikea Adelaide HR department. “The most important thing, as with any employee, is their enthusiasm and ability to do the work well.
‘What matters to us is the right person for the right job,” says Ms Cooper.
A key part of this success has been a partnership with the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) which gave the store the knowledge, skills and confidence to hire and employ people with disability. Together with referrals, advice, and support from local Disability Employment Service (DES) providers, this has enabled Ikea Adelaide to become a truly inclusive workplace that reflects the local community it serves.
“Ikea Adelaide now employs 10 staff with disability and as opportunities arise, we hope this number will continue to rise,” Ms Cooper said.
The National Disability Recruitment Coordinator is a free Australian Government service, helping large employers achieve their disability employment goals. It currently works with over 100 large employers around the country, promoting diversity and creating employment opportunities for people living with disability.
To find out how NDRC can help your business, visit www.jobaccess.gov.au, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1800 464 800.
The NDRC hosts three seminars each financial year in the business centres of Australia. Employers who are interested in attending a free seminar on disability employment can register their interest by email@example.com.
Alternatively, employers can contact the NDRC on 1800 464 800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org sign up to receive monthly newsletters and the NDRC latest news.
* Name changed to protect privacy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.