JobAccess Employer partnership: Sofitel Sydney Wentworth

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth staff (Source: Sofitel Sydney Wentworth)

Sofitel opens door to an untapped talent pool

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, a member of the AccorHotels Group, embodies the Group’s motto to make employees feel valued and new talent welcome. The hotel’s commitment to workforce inclusion and diversity saw Talent & Culture Manager Christelle Chardin explore support to improve their confidence and capability in hiring people with disability.

“The luxury hotel industry is not where it needs to be when it comes to employing people with disability. We wanted to lead the way and show that we support and can employ people from this vast talent pool,” said Christelle.

It was not long before Christelle contacted the JobAccess Employer Engagement - National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC). The JobAccess Employer Engagement team (NDRC) partners with larger employers across the nation to provide essential tools, training and resources that improve their ‘disability confidence’ over a 12-month period.

Professional Adviser David Tran from the Employer Engagement team (NDRC) worked closely with Christelle and the Sofitel Talent & Culture team on a range of policies and procedures to help identify and remove any barriers to employing people with disability.

Reviewing the recruitment process was the starting point. “Some of the recommendations included simple changes that we were able to implement fairly quickly. For instance, providing an email address with all job advertisements so a jobseeker with disability can contact us to enquire for further information,” said Christelle. Developing a new policy on reasonable adjustments was another significant step towards building disability confidence for Sofitel.

Disability awareness training was delivered Sofitel’s staff working across all levels and departments. “The training was an eye-opener. David broke our pre-conceived notions about people with disability and broadened our understanding with such ease,” shared Christelle. “It has changed the way we talk about disability, which is now with better transparency and without any judgements.”

Interviewing candidates with disability is another critical step that requires preparation on the part of the employer. David advised Sofitel’s Talent & Culture team on the essential dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

“The interview process for a candidate with disability was similar to the one we follow for any other candidate. However, one difference was asking the right questions, such as ‘how can we support you’ or ‘do you need us to change anything at the workplace’, and being comfortable while doing so,” said Christelle. “It’s a simple change but goes a long way to make a candidate feel welcome.”

Christelle says that she and her team are delighted to see the positive effect the partnership has had on Sofitel’s journey to becoming a truly diverse and inclusive workplace.

“One of the biggest impacts is that it has helped break the ice. Beyond gaining disability awareness, we are now driven by a disability positive mindset. Over and above, it has enabled us to actively seek and open our doors to talent from an unexplored pool of skilled and capable job seekers.”

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