JobAccess partnership drives Unilever Australia’s disability confidence

Debjani Roy and Shruti Ganeriwala smiling at the camera.
Image (L to R): Debjani Roy and Shruti Ganeriwala smiling at the camera.

Unilever Australia is taking strides to remove barriers and improve employment opportunities for people living with disability. The global consumer goods company has commenced a 12-month partnership with JobAccess’ National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC).

Unilever Australia’s Human Resources Director Shruti Ganeriwala said the company has been doing a lot of groundwork on disability inclusion over the last few years and the focus this year has been on actively hiring more people with disability.

“At Unilever, we want to see a society where everyone is treated equally. We're working to create a fairer, more socially inclusive world – in our business, through our brands and in wider society. We’re determined to achieve a culture where everyone can thrive, a culture where all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, and where their uniqueness is celebrated.

We’re taking a holistic approach that focuses on how we can use the scale and reach of our business to have the greatest impact in our own workplace and beyond. In Australia and New Zealand, we’re focusing specifically on how we can enhance inclusion across four key pillars – Gender, Disability, LGBTQI+ and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

When we were made aware of JobAccess, one of our biggest requirements was ‘how can we improve our approach to hiring people living with disability and create a workplace that is truly accessible for them?’” says Shruti.

What is the NDRC?

The National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) partners with larger organisations across Australia through free, tailored partnerships to provide one-to-one support for building disability confidence.

It works alongside employers to help identify and remove systemic, attitudinal, and environmental barriers in the workplace to improve equitable access to employment for people with disability.

A second look at the recruitment process

Debjani Roy, Talent Partner – Supply Chain & Marketing for Unilever ANZ, said NDRC Professional Adviser Claudia Stevenson worked with them to review their current recruitment process, including their interview guides for hiring managers and the language used in advertisements.

“We have updated the language in our job adverts to make them more inclusive, encouraging people living with a disability to apply.

We also looked at our interview guides for hiring managers and candidates to improve the language used to communicate with our successful or unsuccessful applicants. We reflected on how we can make these more inclusive because the way language comes across is critical,” shares Debjani.

Building a lasting relationship

The NDRC supported Unilever with an information session, inviting different Disability Employment Service (DES) providers to one of their offices.

Shruti states, “It was really important to us to build relationships with DES providers, like NOVA Employment and Ability Partners. These partnerships give us guidance and confidence as we progress our inclusive hiring journey.

With the support of JobAccess, we have now been introduced to more than 10 DES providers and we look forward to continuing to expand our network of partners.”

Unilever logo on the left and JobAccess logo on the right.
Image: Unilever logo on the left and JobAccess logo on the right.

Opening more doors to disability

Since making adjustments to their recruitment process and connecting with more DES providers, Unilever has been able to select candidates from a much wider talent pool.

“The practical experience we have gained recruiting applicants living with disability, has been a huge learning curve for us. We’ve engaged with applicants with a range of disabilities such as learning, intellectual or cognitive, anxiety or depression and various forms of physical disability. The doors that have opened for us through these engagements are amazing,” says Debjani.

“We have successfully recruited applicants from the pool of talent we met. These experiences have made us even more determined to make attracting applicants with disability a priority in our talent attraction strategy,” she adds.

Growing confidence and awareness

Shruti said the advice and guidance from the NDRC helped them build their confidence, while showing them where they could improve.

“Getting Claudia’s advice has built our confidence, showing us all the things that we’re actually doing right, while keeping an eye out for where we can improve,” she said.

From intent to action

The support Unilever received from the NDRC allowed Shruti and her hiring managers to move from intent to action, something that was a priority for Unilever.

“We’ve set clear goals to eliminate any bias and discrimination in our policies and practices, accelerate diverse representation in our leadership, and remove barriers for people with disability.

I think the fact that we have moved from the intent to action is a huge step. In our business, we now have people with disability,” she concludes.

Want to attract and employ people with disability? Get in touch.

The National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) provides tailored and dedicated support to help recruiters, HR leaders, line managers, and C-suite executives in large organisations gain disability confidence through its 12-month partnership program.

Contact JobAccess on 1800 464 800 to connect with the NDRC or submit an enquiry.

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