Inclusive recruitment and selection at NDIA
Wed 3 July 2019
Image (left to right): NDIA's Nicholas Hopper, Tim Wedding, Maryanne Diamond and Fiona Anderson at the Australian Network on Disability's 11th Annual National Conference in Melbourne.
Since its inception, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has had a strong focus on inclusive recruitment practices. In 2016 the agency became the first Australian Public Service to attain Disability Confident Recruiter (DCR) status.
Tim Wedding, Assistant Director Inclusion and Diversity Support Unit, NDIA, shares the strategies that have contributed to their success.
“At NDIA, we’re open about the fact that we aim to be world leaders when it comes to employment of people with disability. Working towards – and ultimately attaining – DCR status really helped sharpen our focus, and our annual participation in the Access and Inclusion Index is always a useful opportunity to undertake an honest assessment of how we’re tracking,” says Tim.
NDIA actively seeks talent with disability through a number of avenues, including the Australian Network on Disability's (AND) Stepping Into internship program, disability recruitment services and its own extensive disability networks. Its recruitment and selection processes ensure adjustments for candidates with disability are provided from the start of the recruitment process, through to on-boarding.
“We ask for preferred methods of contact from applicants and get in touch early on to discuss any adjustments they may need. Not only does this allow us to arrange the adjustments, it also signals that we’re a welcoming and supportive workplace where people can feel comfortable sharing their information,” he says.
An important figure in this process is the Disability Liaison Officer (DLO), whose specialist role is to ensure candidates with disability are provided with everything they need, to make for a smooth recruitment and on-boarding process.
“At the recruitment stage, the adjustments a DLO organises might range from interpreters, to quiet rooms, or the ability to stand in the interview. When a candidate is offered a position, the DLO looks at the workplace, arranges assessments from Occupational Therapists where necessary, and actions any recommendations. We always aim to have adjustments in place as soon as the employee starts work with us,” says Tim.
When it comes to inclusive recruitment, NDIA recognises that it’s not only its own internal processes that matter. Like many organisations, NDIA uses outsourced recruitment services to attract talent, but they make sure all providers they use are also able to confidently support applicants with disability.
“We align with organisations and providers that share similar beliefs. Having DCR status is a prerequisite for working with us, so we know our candidates will receive a level of attention to inclusion that’s in line with our standards,” he says.
When asked what advice he’d give to other organisations looking to improve inclusion in their recruitment processes, Tim says promoting your values goes a long way.
“Candidates can often feel reluctant to share information about their disability. Show clear information early on around exactly how your recruitment practices are inclusive, demonstrate that all employees are valued and supported. It’s only through those open displays of inclusion that perceived barriers can be broken down – then, you’re a step closer to enjoying the benefits of an inclusive, diverse workforce.”
In its second year of participation, NDIA was recognised as a Top Performer in AND’s 2018-19 Access and Inclusion Index – Australia’s foremost corporate benchmarking tool for inclusion of people with disability.
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