Disability employment providing a fresh perspective in the workplace

Stanley Billiau, Senior Adviser in Talent and Culture Advisory (HR), ANZ

Stanley is a Senior Advisor in the Talent and Culture Advisory team at ANZ Bank. He is one of four advisors who are mandated to support any of the 4,013 line managers in Australia with complex staffing or work issues.

Early one morning in 1999, Stan was riding his bicycle enroute to open his cafe in the city when he was run over. Prior to the accident, Stan had worked for 15 years in the hospitality industry, running various successful restaurants across Canada, Australia and the UK.

Stan’s injuries resulted in paraplegia, and he spent two years in hospital recovering. He was discharged in 2001 and started working from home in the capacity of Operations Manager for a start-up. After a few months, it was clear this was not the right fit, and Stan decided to re-enter the workforce.

While working at a call centre for ANZ, Stan embarked on a post-graduate diploma in business, majoring in HR and was later sponsored by ANZ. 15 years on at the bank, Stan has worked tirelessly and moved through various roles to end up in the senior advisory role he’s in now.

"I really enjoy helping managers resolve their issues. It is important to me that I can make a difference to people’s experience of work, and ultimately prepare them to more effectively lead their people,” Stan says.

"My hospitality background has played a big role too in allowing me to understand the needs of the end user”.

Fiona MacDonald, Senior Manager of Diversity, Inclusion and Flexibility at ANZ, says the bank prioritises the cultivation of a workforce that reflects the diversity of the community it serves.

"It's really important for us that we nurture an inclusive workplace which allows all our people to bring their whole self to work and harnesses their unique capabilities.

"We value the diverse perspectives and life experiences that people with disability bring to the workplace,” Fiona said.

There are a range of benefits when employers hire people with disability, they just need to know where to start. Sometimes, businesses will need to make physical adjustments - but for Stan and ANZ, they were already prepared.

Stan describes his workplace, the ANZ Centre, as “state of the art”. It features all the essential adjustments to ensure his daily tasks are as straightforward as possible while operating from a wheelchair.  All benchtops have been installed at the necessary height, and each floor offers 2-3 accessible toilets. Stan has ease of access to all parts of the ANZ Centre due to the numerous elevators in each wing of the building.

"The property team make stuff happen really fast, and if other colleagues see me struggling they’ll usually put in a request without me even knowing,” says Stan.

When workplaces do need adjustments, they can seek assistance through JobAccess and the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF), which gives financial help to people with disability and their employers to make necessary work-related modifications. A free workplace assessment is available through the EAF to help work out what modifications or equipment are required.

"Before the accident I was used to changing jobs, changing countries, all the time. Nowadays I feel really devoted to my role - it’s nice to be proud of my company and stay in one place for a while,” says Stan.

Find out more about how the Employment Assistance Fund can be used for workplace adjustments and equipment.

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