New year, new priorities: CSR is not a box-ticking exercise

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

The new year brings lots of anticipation about the next 12 months that lay ahead. There is a clean slate for new goals, new opportunities, and the excitement of the unknown.

For many organisations, it’s a time to strategise what they want to achieve and consider their priorities for the year ahead.

A goal for many organisations is how they can improve their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

CSR is a business model that helps organisations be socially accountable. The purpose of this self-regulated model is for businesses to improve society and the environment.

Unfortunately, the reasoning behind CSR has transformed into a marketing opportunity or just a box-ticking exercise rather than a movement for making a positive impact in the community.

As a Disability Employment Service provider, EPIC Assist (EPIC) connects job seekers with a disability, injury, mental health condition, or health condition with employers. When we call for employers to make diverse and inclusive hiring a priority by employing people with disability, we do not want them to view this as just another CSR option.

Not just a box-tick

We understand hiring people with disability comes with surface-level benefits such as marketing prospects, wage subsidies, and an improved reputation.

Other employers look over the opportunity altogether and just put people with disability in the ‘too hard’ pile.

The real reason employers should be hiring people with disability is that they are talented, passionate, and skilled workers. People with disability are not a box to tick.

Hiring people with disability can ensure businesses reach their full potential. Research shows workers with disability have a lower rate of absenteeism, lower workplace incidence, and less employee turnover.

People with disability also offer unique perspectives and are creative, innovative problem solvers. This is because they are used to adapting o the world around them.

Two men are sitting at a table smiling. The man one the left is younger. The man on the right and is wearing a EPIC uniform. Between the two men is an EPIC banner that states 'Don't let disability stop you from finding a job.'
Daniel’s employer recognised his continuous hard work and dedication to his job by nominating him for the Tasmanian Young Achievers Award, where he was a semi-finalist.

Breaking down barriers

Stigma, discrimination, and stereotypes are challenges people with disability face every day. The disability community is often excluded from parts of society only due to the barrier’s society has put in front of them. Employment is no different and the onus is on organisations to break down these barriers.

Barrier removal requires expertise, collaboration, and advocacy. This is where EPIC comes in. We tailor our support to each individual job seeker and employer. We understand that not one business is the same and therefore take a versatile approach.

We can help businesses connect with job seekers who are fit and ready for the role. We also offer extra assistance by filling out all necessary forms, organising any workplace reasonable adjustments, organising a support worker and providing ongoing help long after the candidate has been hired.

This is what makes EPIC different from other providers; we are there for every step of the employment journey.

Two men are standing next to each other smiling. The man of the left is wearing an EPIC uniform with a high-vis vest. the man on the right is wearing a high-vis polo
EPIC participant Paul with his support worker

Employers who are making a real difference

There are plenty of examples of EPIC employers who have already witnessed the impact hiring people with disability has made on their business.

Seville Mercy Conference Centre hired Tyrone, who has Asperger’s. His Manager, Rod Cole-Clarke, created a checklist for Tyrone to help him learn his duties in a way he could understand. This checklist was so useful that it is now used in all onboarding training.

Owner of the Oasis Cafe at Redcliffe Steve has six people with disability on his staff and could not be happier with their performance. 

“These kids just need a chance to start somewhere. A little understanding and they can do just as good of a job, if not better, than a lot of other people who have no disabilities. They put in a better effort and have a better attendance,” said Steve.

Marie, the owner of Bird’s Nest Restaurant, recognised the stigma surrounding hiring people with disability and was determined to make a difference. EPIC connected her with Talia who has mild autism, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Talia started in a dishwashing role but over time has been promoted to short-order cook.

“I’m really proud of her. It’s been amazing to see the growth that she’s had here over the last nine months, and I can’t wait to see in the years to come what more she has to offer,” said Marie.

The Sheraton Grand Mirage, Port Douglas is one of EPIC’s long-term employers. Angelica has been working at the Sheraton restaurant for over 13 years and Josh works in the laundry department.

Human Resources Manager, Michele, has been impressed by both Angelica’s and Josh’s work ethic and the support that EPIC provides.

“EPIC is great, you just need to pick up the phone and they are there. They will come whenever they are needed,” said Michele.

“People with disability have a lot to offer. When I look at Ang and Josh, they are talented people. They can think and do lots of things. They just needed the opportunity to grow and develop and become independent.”

Start your employment journey with EPIC today

Ignorance or lack of knowledge is no longer a suitable excuse for excluding the disability community from employment. Don’t just make hiring people with disability another box-tick. Make 2022 the year your business reaches its full potential, breaks barriers, and makes a real difference to the disability community. Contact EPIC today.

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