International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Attracting Diverse Talent
Each year the 3rd of December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This year’s theme is “Transformative Solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world”.
One aspect of this discussion centres on employment and UN Sustainable Development Goal 8, “to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, the international community aims to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value”.
Transformative solutions don’t necessarily require technological innovation or new, disruptive business models. Open-minded employers with the willingness to challenge business norms and create flexibility for their staff will lead the way towards establishing a more equitable jobs market. In the meantime, those businesses will have their pick of the best employees until the rest of the industry catches up!
Curo has always embraced talent in our organisation, irrespective of a person’s circumstances. We provide a flexible environment to enable employees to add value to the business while maintaining their health and lifestyle as required. In a post-COVID world where the opportunity to work from home is abundant, it has never been easier for employers to step away from a rigid approach to “the working day” and empower their people to deliver with autonomy, while managing other important aspects of their lives. Trust is the cornerstone of our approach and this flexible way of working has allowed Curo to hire and retain some outstanding team members, whom other businesses may have missed out on.
Two Curo team members have offered some personal insights into their experience of the employment market as persons with disabilities, or parents of children with disabilities:
“I started at Curo 10 years ago, as an Accounts Assistant which involved long hours at my desk. I have a long list of ailments, two of which are Fibromyalgia and Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) which leave me extremely fatigued and in pain for long periods. Fortunately for me, Curo has assisted with everything I have needed along the way. I have a footrest and a specialist chair with a back warmer which is on all day every day to assist with the pain. I am able to take breaks when needed and can go to all medical appointments with no hassle whatsoever. My time is also flexible, and I am very fortunate to work from home as this suits my situation and I do not have restrictions that might make the pain worse.
Having the help of my employer has benefitted both them and me. Working takes my mind off the pain, keeps me occupied and having the additional help in place allows me to complete my job to the highest standard possible. I do not need to take sick leave as I have all the support required. I like to be treated the same as everyone else, this is one of the most important things to me.
Accessibility is key in assisting people with disabilities. We don’t yet live in a world where environments, products and services are designed for all to use them without the need for adaption or special design. Disabled people like myself often need reasonable adjustments or specialised equipment to be able to participate in full.
I also have Tourette’s and over the years I have been able to subconsciously control my tics in different situations. More recently they have been worsening and I have had a few tics in meetings. This is something I have been very nervous about, both before and during meetings, as thoughts of trying to not tic consume my mind. However I was very relieved when I eventually did tic in a meeting, my colleagues just carried on as if nothing had happened. I have the support of everyone in the business and although some have not heard or seen my tics, I am feeling much better with the support I have, that it will just be accepted.
With the support of my employer my career has progressed and I am now Curo’s Financial Controller. With the right support for my disabilities, my progression within the company has not been affected.”
– Gemma Carter, Financial Controller
“Being a mum to a child with disabilities not only proves difficult in everyday life, but it makes working difficult too. In previous jobs, I have found getting time off for medical appointments very challenging, for example.
During job interviews I have been questioned about how I would manage not only being a mum, but also the extra appointments I’d need to attend, while ensuring I get my work done. Of course I would try to make sure such appointments were scheduled on my days off, and if this wasn’t possible then I would ask to swap shifts with a colleague, which in itself can be difficult at times. Caring for my child has made moving up the career ladder much harder, which should not be the case.
Since joining Curo I have received all the support I could need. My daughter has since had more emergency admitted hospital time and has been diagnosed with further disabilities, but I have always been fully supported with this, and given the time to look after her. Curo allows flexible working so I am able to make the time up and I have been able to work from home on a few occasions, for example when I was too anxious to leave my daughter when she received her recent epilepsy diagnosis.
Workplaces need to adapt to flexible working to make it easier for parents to have a career whilst caring for children with disabilities. I constantly worry what the future workplace will be like for my daughter, as I know from experience not all workplaces are like Curo. I see the world is not fully accepting, but it is important for employers to include everyone, no matter their ability.”
– Danielle Gibbs, Finance Assistant
Curo is proud to have such talented, dedicated professionals in our team. We encourage all employers to ask themselves whether they have done enough to make their business attractive to all possible applicants. Is your hiring process equitable? Is your working environment (both physical and virtual) accessible? What more could you do so as not to miss out on the best talent?
Not sure where to start?
Take a look at the government’s Disability Confident campaign (https://disabilityconfident.campaign.gov.uk/). Here is an extract from the web page:
The Disability Confident scheme helps employers recruit and retain great people, and to:
- challenge attitudes and increase understanding of disability
- draw from the widest possible pool of talent
- secure high-quality staff who are skilled, loyal and hard-working
- improve employee morale and commitment by demonstrating fair treatment
Employers can sign up and become Disability Confident Committed (level 1) and then work towards the level 2 and 3 accreditations. Curo has recently signed up to level 1 and will be exploring the other levels in the months to come.