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Section 2: Making the changes happen

Overcoming the barriers

While the strategy focuses on solutions for improving disability employment, understanding the barriers to improvement is also important. Our barriers include:

  1. Workplace cultures do not support diversity inclusiveness
  2. Lack of managerial confidence and/or competence
  3. Negative and incorrect attitudes
  4. Poor data and evidence gathering
  5. Inadequate recognition and celebration of success stories
  6. Insufficient demand for employees with disability.

The two major barriers are poor attitudes and insufficient demand for candidates with disability.

A role for everyone

The Australian Public Service Commission has a key role in driving and leading the change agenda. However, sustainable change will only be realised when all employees contribute to the building of aninclusive workforce. This means that our challenges need to be tackled top-down, across the middle and
bottom up.

1. APS leaders.

We need them to:

  • engage in and understand the business drivers for diversity
  • model and reward inclusive behaviours
  • support, endorse and monitor disability initiatives, where appropriate
  • encourage hiring managers to carry out disability- inclusive recruitment processes.

2. Agency human resources practitioners.

We need them to:

  • diffuse and promote the strategy to all employees in their organisation
  • develop effective diversity plans and disability action plans
  • take steps to gain senior management buy-in for disability initiatives
  • integrate disability issues into corporate policies, programs and training
  • partner with the Australian Public Service Commission to progress disability employment initiatives
  • provide opportunities for employees with disability to have their concerns/issues heard
  • become expert resources for their agencies in inclusive management practices.

3. Hiring managers.

We need them to:

  • learn about the benefits of a diverse team
  • consider candidates with disability when recruiting
  • be open to flexible working arrangements, and
  • implement reasonable workplace modifications and adjustments for employees when they are requested.

4. APS employees with disability.

We need them to:

  • identify as an employee with disability on their agency's human resource information system or directly on the Australian Public Service Employee Database, and
  • recognise their right to ask for reasonable adjustments, workplace modifications and flexible working arrangements.

5. Potential employees with disability.

We need them to:

  • consider the APS an employer of choice for people with disability
  • apply for APS recruitment opportunities
  • ask for reasonable adjustments (modifications), if required, during recruitment and on the job
  • seek feedback from hiring managers when their application for a position is unsuccessful.

6. Disability employment service providers.

We need them to:

  • promote the benefits of working for the APS
  • help applicants with disability complete the application process
  • continue building relationships with hiring managers and key human resources practitioners.

7. Peak bodies and other organisations representing the interests of people with disability.

We need them to:

  • Partner with the Australian Public Service Commission and APS agencies over the long term to inform and improve disability employment.

8. Diversity Council members.

We need them to:

  • provide strong, visible leadership on diversity issues
  • share and translate good practice initiatives
  • provide a strategic and coordinated approach to encouraging APS agencies' performance in improving employment outcomes
  • foster inclusive cultures and practices in their own agencies and across the APS.

How we'll know if we've been successful

We are aiming for the APS to become a disability confident employer. Common characteristics found in disability confident organisations include:Most change processes, particularly those involving attitudinal shifts, are difficult and take time – time for employees to acknowledge, accept and adopt
new ways of thinking and behaving. This strategy is no exception and we don't expect overnight change. But at the end of this strategy we do expect to see:

  • a reversal in the long-term decline of the number of people with disability employed in the APS
  • an improvement in reported job satisfaction for employees with disability
  • an increase in our retention rates.

These achievements will be periodically monitored by the Diversity Council, using statistics sourced from our annual State of the Service Report.At the conclusion of the strategy we will review our progress and consider whether a new set of initiatives are required.