Success through Inclusive Partnerships

Salvation Army

Front Row left to right: Jason Kershman, Francis Menard,Christine Cayer

Back row left to right: Brady Lacroix, Joel Daze, Chiman Rahiminejad, Kwesi Otoo, Dimitri Jean-Paul, Lina Evans, Beau Byford, Lorraine Pryce, Silvana Plehandzic and Brittany King-Doelle. 

Success through Inclusive Partnerships

Let’s talk about working together, about how helping persons with disabilities obtain work requires a willing employer.  PPRC has been working to find jobs for persons with disabilities for twenty-four years.  We know that our success depends on employers who are willing to look for talent in non-traditional places.  Employers who think outside the box, who want good employees, who want a person that is dependable, on time and willing to work. Employers who are willing to accommodate persons with disabilities because they recognize talent, and talent is what they need. 

I assume that people are reading this and saying, “Ya, right, who has the time? Who needs that hassle?” Well, the fact is if you are an employer, you do.

Let me give you an example, The Salvation Army in Ottawa has worked with PPRC for ten years. Every November they have the kettle campaign gathering donations for their organization throughout the city.  Every year they need people to be their representative at the kettles. This is an important task, think about it, the kettle campaign is a major source of funding for the Salvation Army. They are trusting people to work independently, they are trusting them with money, they want them to reflect positively on their organization and they need them to be on time and dependable to relieve others at shift changes.  The scheduling alone is a massive undertaking.  Ask Brady LaCroix, the person responsible for organizing, updating and fixing any scheduling issues for the 2018 campaign.  He will tell you how important it is to have dependable people and he is the one who has hired nineteen clients from PPRC for the 2018 kettle campaign.

Now ask yourself, why would he do this? Does he have the time or need the hassle? No, he does not.  The answer is he knows that they will be reliable and get the job done.  He knows that overall, they will make his job easier and the campaign successful by extension.

So now your argument is the Salvation Army is known for helping others, it is supposed to have a social conscience.  They are not making business decisions, they are making social decisions.  You could not be more wrong.  Make no mistake, the Salvation Army is a business and they make business decisions, they have to, to be successful and for longevity.  You see the goal is not to raise money for one year and help folks for one year, the goal is to make a long-term commitment to providing support and help to those most in need.  They do this by having a social conscience both in business and in application of their principles.  

So how does this work?  The Salvation Army and Brady used an inclusive approach to the hiring of people for the kettle campaign.  They offered adaptive services to allow those people who required accommodation to be represented at their best in the interview process.   They employed the use of inclusive hiring practices that relieved anxiety, reduced stress and provided an atmosphere where people could be successful.

In writing this blog, I spoke to Brady and his team at the Salvation Army, I also interviewed some of the clients from PPRC who are working in the kettle campaign.  

There were several themes that resonated from the clients.  They all recognized the opportunity they were afforded in working for the kettle campaign.  They all spoke of the satisfaction that doing this brings, that collecting donations for those less fortunate is rewarding and meaningful work.  They spoke of the sense of support and belonging to a team that recognizes their talents and treats them with respect and as valued contributors. 

So, I asked what benefits they thought they had gained by working a contract with the Salvation Army?  Here are the top responses:

  • They gained work experience.
  • They gained confidence.
  • They improved their resumes and increased their chance of finding employment.
  • They felt valued and enjoyed working.

When I spoke to Brady LaCroix, he spoke of the importance of the kettle campaign. How the Salvation Army depended on the success of the campaign in helping to maintain their good work. He talked of how much they relied upon all the workers and that they were very appreciative of the people who supported the campaign.  He thanked the workers from PPRC who had been so dependable and willing to work.   

You see, I think the Salvation Army is one of those businesses that practices what they preach.  They hire inclusively, they use inclusive hiring techniques, they work with service providers to provide supports to ensure the success of those candidates that require assistance. They provide assistance to those that need it.  All the while maintaining a successful business. 

PPRC and the Salvation Army in Ottawa have had a successful and meaningful working relationship for years.  Every November PPRC sends clients to the interviews for the Kettle campaign.  Each year the Salvation Army identifies those candidates that they want to work on the campaign. The clients work the campaign gaining valuable experience to help them re-enter the workforce. 

A Service Provider and an Employer working together to the success of both organizations.

As an employer, we all work with partners, we are all seeking to find the best candidates to fill our employment vacancies.  So, open your doors to potential, open your team to talent and work with organizations like PPRC.  Access the benefits of working with PPRC and using inclusive hiring practices to find and recruit talent.  Find your best employees. 

Talk to me, give me your insights, engage.  That is all I am really asking, be open to the discussion of hiring people with disabilities.  It works.

You can talk to me here on the blog or you can contact PPRC at www.pprc.cause the Contact Us button!