Q&A with Telstra – how we became a Disability Confident Recruiter

Mon 10 February 2020

Three women in corporate attire smiling, woman in the middles holds a certificate. They stand in front of an Australian Network on Disability banner.

Image: Australian Network on Disability Relationship Manager Emily Sparling presents a DCR certificate to Telstra, accepted by Kylie Fuller and Carolyn McDonnell. 

 

Telstra has become one of only a dozen organisations recognised by the Australian Network on Disability (AND) as a Disability Confident Recruiter (DCR).

The company has taken a leadership role in its commitment to accessibility and inclusive recruitment. As one of the largest employers in Australia, achieving DCR status was an important milestone in Telstra’s journey towards becoming a workplace of choice for the one in five Aussies with disability.

“Telstra’s purpose it to build a connected future where everyone can thrive. Of course, ‘everyone’ includes the millions of people who are living with disabilities and seeking employment,” said Kylie Fuller, Head of Diversity and Inclusion.

“We are proud to be counted among the organisations who have completed AND’s Disability Confident Recruiter program. We have learnt a lot through this experience and made some really positive changes to support candidates and employees and increase the opportunities available to them.”

We spoke with Telstra’s Accessibility and Inclusion Team to find out more about their DCR experience and what they learned along the way.

What motivated you to sign up for the DCR program?

In Telstra’s 2017-2019 Accessibility & Inclusion Plan, we made a commitment to adopt the most rigorous accessibility standards across all our recruitment and workplace practices – to ensure there would be no accessibility barriers for anyone who wants a job at Telstra.

Which part of the program did you find the most challenging? 

Telstra is a large organisation that is constantly changing. We implemented a new HRIS (Workday) whilst in the middle of our DCR program application. We had to engage with various new internal and external stakeholders to review and test the new system against the relevant criteria to ensure we could meet the accessibility requirements as part of our DCR submission.

Did you come across any obstacles while completing the program?

Amidst a period of immense change within Telstra, including several business restructures and staff movements, one obstacle we did face was the process of connecting and working with these new teams to help them understand what the DCR program was as well as ensuring we were able to meet the DCR requirements around accessibility, whilst incorporating this into our new systems and processes. Our Relationship Manager from AND provided lots of feedback and guidance to support our submission, which was of great value.

What were the most surprising things to come out of completing the program?

I would have to say the positive response throughout the Telstra business. People who had never been involved in the area of accessibility were very keen to help. There was a real sense of collaboration and everyone got engaged to support and contribute to the process. People from our Recruitment, ICT and Property departments provided evidence, reviewed policy and processes and in some cases created new approaches so that we could make accessibility and the awareness of disability front and centre of the business.

What changes will you make as a result of completing the program?

Telstra has introduced a centralised workplace adjustment process that allows employees and managers to request workplace adjustments during recruitment and at any stage of the employment lifecycle. A Health Management Consultant can support with assessments and modifications that might be needed.

What do you hope to achieve from being recognised as a Disability Confident Recruiter?

Telstra is extremely proud to be named a Disability Confident Recruiter. We believe that the program helps to identity and remove unintended barriers to inclusive recruitment, whilst building on the organisation’s confidence and capability to attract, support and retain skilled candidates with disability.

 

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About the DCR program 

The Australian Network on Disability's (AND) internationally-renowned Disability Confident Recruiter (DCR) program signals to jobseekers with disability that they’ll be treated fairly throughout the recruitment and selection process. DCR demonstrates an organisation’s confidence and capability to attract and support skilled candidates with disability. 

AND guides organisations to ‘discover’ unintended barriers to their recruitment and selection processes, implement the DCR Charter and gives recruiters the skills and confidence to refer skilled and talented candidates with disability to internal or external clients. 

DCR is open to both members and non-members of AND. 

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