What makes We Belong different?
- We invest ourselves in the long-term support of the employers we work with, as well as our job seekers. This is the main reason we’ve had such great success with inclusive hiring.
How does inclusive hiring work with Gateway Association?
- It involves an extensive discovery process, where we explore all facets of a job seeker’s life, their natural skills and abilities, their passions, and interests.
- We brainstorm all kinds of employment possibilities.
- Then we approach employers to explore.
- Through exploration with employers we look at areas of high turnover, tasks that aren’t being completed, and areas where specialized staff could bundle tasks out of their job description that aren’t key to the position that would free them up to focus on their primary tasks.
- We carve/customize a position that works for both the employer and the job seeker.
Who can be employed?
- Anyone who is willing to work. Every one of us has something to offer. It’s our job at Gateway to discover what that is in each job seeker and find a place for those skills in the workforce.
What happens when there are challenges?
- Gateway is there through every step. We are committed to supporting a job seeker and an employer through the entire duration of their work relationship. There is no cutoff date.
- Our support includes regular check-ins with employers and job seekers.
- We are there to help fine-tune tasks, approaches to instructions, barriers in the workplace, relationships with managers and staff, and accommodations that will lead to a meaningful, long-term fit.
Why no job coach?
- Currently, none of the people we support require a job coach. This is largely due to the amount of time we spend in discovery with the job seeker so that person is working at tasks that already suit his or her natural skills and abilities.
- Real, natural supports.
- Letting go of traditional job descriptions and focusing on existing skills and abilities.
- A commitment to regular feedback so we can support the employer with fine-tuning the work relationship. Call us as soon as something doesn’t fit or as soon as something isn’t working.
- A willingness to accept the differences in all employees and leverage each person’s talents and contributions to your workplace.
What doesn’t work:
- Low staff morale/an unhealthy workplace culture.
- Token/charity employment.
- Letting small issues grow without asking for support.
- Terminating employment before experimenting with tasks/tactics that could have led to success. The employers who commit to the process end up with the most positive results.
What are the benefits for my business?
- A loyal/dedicated employee;
- A person who helps fill the gaps in your workforce;
- A positive trickle effect on workplace culture and staff morale;
- It identifies your company as socially conscious and community minded to clients/customers/patrons.
Tell me more about how workplace culture plays a role.
An engaged employee performs better, is more committed to his or her job, and becomes a loyal contributor to the cultural fabric of a business.
Workplace culture is key to hiring and keeping this kind of employee. It’s also key to finding and maintaining meaningful work for people with intellectual disabilities.
When we explore a position with an employer, we look at employment gaps, tasks that aren’t being completed, and areas of high turnover.
We also look at workplace culture as a marker of future success.
The employers who have the best results with inclusive hiring are the employers who already have a strong culture within the workplace. They are the employers who see that investing in a worker with potential will yield long-term benefits financially.
Another fringe benefit is a return on that investment: inclusive hiring, in turn, further adds to the culture of a workplace in a positive way.
When we build a right-fit business relationship between an employer and a job seeker, we hear from employers time and again that a shift in workplace culture is one of the most positive results.
One employer, told us it had taken several months for the company to realize that, “We needed (the job seeker) more than he needed us.”
His abilities were valued by staff. His dedication to learn as an employee and grow beyond his barriers strengthened the entire team.
It was even discovered that a problem area for the business was actually his area of greatest strength.
Unfortunately, on the opposite side of that same coin, a shift in management or turnover at the supervisory level almost always leads to a job loss for the employee with intellectual disabilities.
Perception is often where things fall apart. A new manager or supervisor is often unable to see the contribution of the employee with an intellectual disability.
For long-term success, the overall workplace culture must support the inclusive hiring relationship, not just from the top down, but within all levels of a business.
When a company leads with integrity, it earns a reputation for being socially aware, responsible, a fair and ethical employer of choice, and helps build trust and loyalty among clients and employees.
These things are all good for your company’s bottom line.