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The 20% of Australia That Wants to, But Can’t Do Business With You

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The 20% of Australia That Wants to, But Can’t Do Business With You

I recently attended a business event with guest speakers Richard Coleman, Jemima Moore and Sam McIntosh. They shared with the audience their stories of high level (Olympic) sporting success and the disappointments and challenges they faced along the way. They conveyed this information with grace and good humour and the feeling in the room was of respect and admiration.

There is NO way I could reach the levels of athletic success that these 3 achieved, but what I know I can do, is to spread their message;

“People with disabilities CAN – they just do it differently”

Richard, Jemima and Sam are wheelchair athletes and the reason they were invited to speak at the event was to encourage businesses to provide more employment opportunities for job seekers and better access for customers who have a disability.

Did you know:

  • 1 in 5 people in Australia have some form of disability (Approx 20%)
  • 2.2 million Australians of working age (15 – 64 years) have a disability (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2012.)
  • 39% of complaints lodged with Australian Human Rights Commission are against businesses and related to disability.(Source: Australian Human Rights Commission).

Personally, I like to think of people with disabilities as Extra-ordinary but our guest speakers confirmed they were aching to not stand out because of their disabilities, but to fit into businesses as valued employees and customers.

Having worked in Disability Employment Services, I can confirm that there is a wealth of job seekers and support services ready and willing to bring Extra-ordinary to your business. I can also confirm that many employers love the idea of accessing and helping 20% of the population, but they have questions around how, when, who and what to do when and if something goes wrong.

They fear the unknown and that makes it too risky to give it a go. Fear of this nature isn’t a bad thing as it means you care but, this type of fear must be overcome as it’s stopping your business and 20% of the population from growing.

Why you should put Extra-ordinary into your business:

  • You may not know it but some (or many) of your existing customers are Extra-ordinary – not all disabilities can be seen. Consider how you could make it easier for them to do business with you and they will keep coming back.
  • Extra-ordinary customers often have a HUGE network. Accommodate one Extra-ordinary customer and you will become the preferred provider for their network.
  • Studies conducted in Australia and overseas have found no differences in performance and productivity, and found that employees with disability have fewer scheduled absences as well as increased tenure. (Source www.and.org.au)

How you can put Extra-ordinary into your business:

  • Find out everything you need to know at www.jobaccess.gov.au
  • Google Disability Employment Service providers in your area
  • Seek input from Extra-ordinary people service providers. They can recommend changes that would make it easier for their customers to do business with you ie: Vision Australia, MS Society Australia, Guide Dogs Association, Australian Hearing.

As a Service Excellence Coach, I save employers and managers time and money by educating a motivating their frontline staff to become Customer Service Professionals. Customer Service Professionals understand the value of diversity in the workplace and they seek ways to delight all customers, the ordinary and the Extra-ordinary.

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“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"



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