At Vancity, we believe creating an inclusive workplace and hiring people with disabilities makes good business sense. We also want our employees to be representative of our members and communities that we serve.
Did you know there are about 334,000 British Columbians aged 15 to 64 that self-identify as having a disability? The Ministry of Employment and Social Development reports that 90 per cent of employees with disabilities have rated average or better in job performance, and have better attendance records compared with employees without disabilities.
While 44 per cent of our employees belong to a visible minority group we are also committed to ensure we included people in our workforce who have disability. A disability is an individualized physical, mental, intellectual, learning or sensory condition that may present a barrier to optimum functioning. Since every person is unique this means two people with the same disability experience it differently; one may experience limitations while another may not and it’s also important to acknowledge that people with a disability also have an array of attributes.
Creating an inclusive work environment means organizations need to find solutions and remove barriers that allow people with a disability to fully participate in the workplace. Some of these changes can be so simple. For example, making an adjustment for an employee who has a mental health challenge can be as easy and inexpensive as providing a quite space for their break or allow them to start work a little bit later. The reality is the majority of accommodations for creating an inclusive workplace are simple to implement and cost under $500 (many are free).
We hire for ability and accommodate for disability
Our workplace inclusion program seeks to develop an inclusive culture that features an empathetic manager, a mentor and an on-site job coach from a community partner for as long as the employee needs it. Community partners identify their clients’ skills and abilities and recommend them as potential candidates. Vancity then matches those skills and abilities with opportunities for meaningful work.
One of the initiatives we developed to foster greater workplace inclusion led to the hiring of eight neurodiverse people in 2015 to help test our new core banking system, which is set to go live by the end of 2016. The program has been very successful and a win/win for all.
At Vancity don’t divide the world between “us” and “them,” between “employees” and “customers.” We’re all members of the same team, working to make our community a better place to live.