Settlement Services International named Disability Confident Recruiter

Fri 2 March 2018

Diverse group of people in business attired having a group photo

Australian Network on Disability (AND) has accorded Bronze Member Settlement Services International (SSI) with Disability Confident Recruiter (DCR) status.

SSI is a community organisation and social business providing a range of services in the areas of refugee settlement, asylum seeker assistance, housing, multicultural foster care, disability support, employment and youth support, as well as professional training in cultural responsiveness.

SSI is the first organisation in 2018 to successfully complete AND’s DCR program.

SSI CEO and 2017 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year, Violet Roumeliotis, was very proud of the achievement.

“We experience first-hand the benefits of diversity in our workforce, which is at the core of SSI’s success,” she said.

“Achieving DCR status reflects our strong values of equity, respect and diversity, but also provides an opportunity to recruit individuals with disability to add to the vibrancy of our talented organisation.”

The DCR program is designed to help organisations identify unintended recruitment barriers and grow their ability to attract and support skilled jobseekers with disability.

As an organisation built on the success of its diverse workforce, SSI was eager to ensure their values were being reflected in its recruitment processes.

SSI Multicultural Disability Inclusion and Promotion Officer, Javier Paul Ortiz, said:

“The disability confident recruiter project resonated with SSI’s values as it provided a foundation to ensure we continue to enrich our already diverse workforce and practice what we preach, which is the ability to offer the same opportunities for all.”

While parts of the program were challenging – such as the development of a workplace adjustments procedure – the greater obstacle was making sure the whole organisation felt confident to support people with disability in the workplace once they’d been hired. He said:

“There were concerns that we might be setting people up to fail if we didn’t have inclusive practices after the recruitment process.

“We overcame this by building the awareness of managers and leaders through conversations and presentations at high-level meetings. We also created a working group of people from various departments who understood the benefits of becoming a Disability Confident Recruiter. It enabled them to own the process, giving it more reach and depth.”

Mr Ortiz said SSI, as an organisation that’s always willing to tackle opportunities head on, was surprised to discover that being inclusive didn’t mean extra work: it simply meant committing to a different way of doing things.

“Everyone was really open and willing to help. It was surprising that many of the changes required didn’t need more time or effort from individuals, just a different way of doing things,” he said.

“One of the most successful products we offer is cultural responsiveness training for private and public-sector organisations looking to build cultural awareness in the workplace. Going through the DCR process helped us to reflect on how we look at diversity in the workplace and add value to the services we provide.”

As a direct result of completing the DCR program, SSI plans to make its new workplace adjustment procedure available to all staff, including the organisation’s volunteer workforce. It will engage with Disability Employment Services providers and set expectations on increasing its recruitment of people with disability.

Pleased with what SSI has achieved, Mr Ortiz said:

“Our success as a business is built on diversity of cultures, thoughts and experiences, and therefore we know that by achieving DCR status we can tap into a larger talent pool and increase the success of our organisation.” 

Find out more about AND's Disability Confident Recruiter program

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