Water Journal : Water Journal May 2012
feature article feature articles 54 MAY 2012 water CHW provides water and wastewater services in and around the Ballarat region. Summary The objective of this activity was to engage with people with disabilities to assist them in being able to actively participate in the workforce. Case Study Geoff is a mature-age man who lost his sight approximately 10 years ago. Heidi is 23 and lost her sight 11 months ago. They are both active members of society who [since losing their sight], had not been given a chance to be actively engaged in the workplace. Specific business need CHW developed a number of robust strategies in 2009; the outcome of two of these strategies was to develop an action plan to attract and retain people from within its customer base who would not normally consider applying for roles with CHW. These strategies are: 1) High performing organisation -- to continuously improve and enhance individual and organisation performance; and 2) Responsive to Customers and Community -- to understand and respond to changing customer expectations. Up until 2010 CHW had not actively engaged in seeking employees outside of the traditional method of employing people, relying on newspaper media and the internet to advertise vacancies. Approach developed to meet the business need • Worked in partnership with Western District Employment Access (WDEA), which specialises in placing people with disabilities. • Developed a trial program within the Organisational Development team, working with the prospective staff member, WDEA, Vision Australia and other CHW staff. Activities and their implementation CHW identified a number of challenges with their first trial. These involved: • Workstation design and layout; lighting; glare; phone system; walkway access; getting to and from the office; staff communication; and the willingness and capacity of the first vision-impaired employee to work with CHW on a trial run as part of a learning process. Outcomes and measurable impacts of the activities CHW's awareness of working with and getting to know their customers who have disabilities have increased exponentially. Extent to which the outcomes are sustainable and were achieved in a cost-efficient manner The administrative tasks both Geoff and Heidi are completing have been identified as areas that had not been addressed for some time. In other cases, CHW has been able to have existing staff move on to other productive work within the role description. Heidi has also commenced training in a Cert IV in Government and Frontline Management. Important lessons learnt and critical success factors Geoff and Heidi have different levels of vision and one of the key learnings for CHW was ensuring that they listened to their individual needs and adapted processes and workstation designs to suit. Critical success factors and tips included: • That a Senior Manager should drive the engagement and communication with staff; • Don't participate if it is a token gesture -- make it part of your attraction and recruitment campaign; • Have patience. If it doesn't work out the first time, keep trying; • Advise staff on how the vision-impaired staff members would wish to be approached; • Coach staff on how to train vision-impaired staff; and, above all, • Recognise that it is a learning process. For further information contact: Katrina Baddeley, Manager -- Organisational Development, Central Highlands Water, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Case Study 4 Central Highlands Water (CHW) Employing Vision-Impaired People The WICD Network The Good Practice Case Studies in Attraction, Retention and Training were developed by the Water Industry Capacity Development (WICD) network, which includes the following industry members: ActewAGL; Barwon Water; Central Highlands Water; City West Water; Coliban Water Authority; East Gippsland Water; Gippsland Water; Gosford City Council; Goulburn Murray Water Training Services; Goulburn Valley Water; Government Skills Australia; Hunter Water Corporation; Melbourne Water; MidCoast Water; North East Water; Power and Water Corporation; qldwater directorate; SA Water Corporation; South East Water; South Gippsland Region Water Corporation; State Water; SunWater; Sydney Catchment Authority; Thiess; Townsville City Council; Unity Water; Veolia Water Australia; Wannon Water; Western Water; Westernport Region Water Corporation. The aim of WICD is to provide a forum for the water industry to discuss issues, define strategies and take action to reduce the extent and impact of the skills shortage. WICD provides the opportunity for collaboration on skills, training and professional development needs that are required now and into the future by the water industry.
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