Does your tourism business have trouble finding and retaining good, reliable employees? While high season for much of British Columbia’s tourism industry is winding down, the challenge of recruiting and retaining employees continues.
People with disabilities represent an important employee talent pool that is largely untapped. With 334,000 working-age British Columbians who have a disability and an unemployment rate of 11.6% (versus 7.1% for people without disabilities), there is a big opportunity for tourism businesses to alleviate their staffing shortages by tapping into this labour pool.
“Of course this is the right thing to do,” says Craig Richmond, President and CEO Vancouver Airport Authority. “But this is actually a great business decision. In a world where competition for talent is only growing, it just makes sense to look out everywhere and gather the best people you can.”
Richmond is the co-chair of Presidents Group, a network of business leaders in BC focused on increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Destination British Columbia’s CEO Marsha Walden is also a member.
Lots of reasons. Hiring inclusively can improve culture and increase retention. Ninety percent of consumers prefer companies that employ people with disabilities. Consumers want to do business with organizations they can see themselves reflected in. People with disabilities represent a $55 billion dollar consumer market.
The numbers speak for themselves.
So how do you go about hiring people with disabilities?
“There are four key things that need to be in place to really make inclusive hiring work well,” says Jamie Millar-Dixon, recruitment specialist at BC Partners in Workforce Innovation. “It starts with commitment—an executive champion within the organization who sets a strategic vision to be inclusive.” The other key elements are readiness (talking with your team about hiring people with disabilities, making adjustments, dispelling myths, training), recruitment, and retention.
Destination BC will be providing tips on each of these key steps over the next few months at DestinationBC.ca.
In the meantime, September is always a good time to make a fresh start. BC has also declared September Disability Employment Month. Watch a quick video to see how YVR has had success with hiring people with disabilities. Or read about the next steps for hiring people with disabilities, including a success story at the Shangri-La hotel.
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