What makes for successful placement for employers, workers and disability employment service providers
Art or Science?
Many, sometimes including program designers think that successfully employing a person with disability is the same as the process for people who dont have a disability plus some incentive(s) and if that doesnt work out then upping the incentives will solve the problem.
Sadly (for employers and people with disability) this is flawed thinking and represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the barriers faced by people with disability when it comes to acquiring and maintaining employment. In consequence, when the incentive/subsidy runs out the person is not generating sufficient profit to retain employment and their work is lost.
The solution to this defeat is often to repeat the process rather than look at the underlying needs of the parties as a means of finding suitable fit within an employers business.
While I might view disability as a construct theres no doubt that the fact of impairment imposes limitations - people who have a disability cant do everything, the blind are lousy pilots! But this doesnt mean they cant do anything. What it means is that service providers need to determine skills as well as aspirations then identify limitations and match their possible impact in seeking a role that matches these.
When aspiration, ability and opportunity cross paths, successful long term employment becomes possible.
Over the years a term that I think was originally specific to the disability industry, reverse marketing has come to mean far less than its original intent - today reverse marketing consists of pulling a clients file from a cabinet filled with similar people and phoning employers with the goal of sending a candidate for interview and possible hire.
This was not the original intent. Applied to people with disability, and lacking substantial additional knowledge, staff send keen candidates who are doomed to fail in very large numbers.
This is most unfortunate because the process of failure is more damaging for members of disadvantaged minorities than the same experience for members of more powerful groups - there are generally less support structures in place to maintain the morale and motivation of people with disability.
Failure by service staff to understand both capacity and barriers for job seekers may lead to scapegoating - blaming the person with disability for lacking application, will, or some other quality when the facts are an employment match that resembles a square peg and a round hole
Such an approach is also bad for the goodwill of employers who give themselves a pat on the back for adopting inclusive hiring strategies only to find they have a person unable to complete tasks associated with their role.
The art of successful placement comes with the knowledge that there are some foundations essential for success that include more information about a job seeker than simply their Centrelink number.
Frequently NOVAs job seekers are young and have limited exposure to the workplace - a simple question like, what would you like to do? is predicated on a belief that the person has sufficient experience to make an informed choice - thats not always so and preferences may need to be validated.
The consequence of any barriers also need to be understood - cant work in a noisy workplace, prefer to start later in the day, unable to work unless workplace is accessible by public transport may be essential elements rather than just a preference.
Long term success comes through a thorough knowledge of the candidate and the creation of support structures that enable the worker to perform at a commercially viable level. The story we tell to employers should not be, heres a discount or do the right thing but rather, here is a person who is fitted to the role you offer and will return a commercial rate on your investment - valuable team members rather than objects of pity.
Matching keen candidates who have a disability with business opportunities likely to last into long term workforce participation is both art and science,
Employers will understand if a role needs some modification, they will accept a settling in period but ultimately demand a return.
905 people met these criteria in 2015, we are determined to improve on that number in 2016.
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