Champions Career Centre: The importance of Employment Maintenance - Carrie's story Champions Career Centre: Workplace inclusion tips from Champions

Save the date for Champions "Meet and Greet" with The Westin, March 19

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Champions Career Centre is proud to partner with The Westin for our next employer “Meet and Greet” on Wednesday, March 19. In attendance will be Human Resources and Housekeeping Directors and staff from The Westin. They are looking forward to meeting job candidates to fill multiple positions at their hotel. Click for current listings.

Champions hosts regular “Meet and Greets” for the community to bring together job candidates and employers who are hiring. They are informal and open forums where Champions and community partner candidates are invited to meet and talk with hiring managers from Calgary businesses at the Champions office downtown.

Susan Reeves, Director of Human Resources at The Westin took some time to speak with Champions about their commitment to accessibility, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Westin Hotels all follow the Ontario Disabilities Act which guide their policies and in Calgary, they are led by General Manager Didier Luneau, who believes the core of diversity is showing respect to individuals. 

Champions has featured The Westin in the past as a 'Diversity Champion', not only for its commitment to inclusion of persons with disabilities, but also of women, visible minorities and immigrants, aboriginals and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) peoples.  Cultural diversity is also embraced and over 34 different languages are spoken among employees at the hotel. Embracing diversity of all kinds is a smart business decision and also makes the hotel a more welcoming place for their guests and associates.  
In terms of inclusion of persons with disabilities, Ms. Reeves leads regular diversity sessions for employees of The Westin. These activities put them “in the shoes” of a person with a disability, leading to a greater understanding of the barriers that persons with disabilities may face in the context of their hotel. Ms Reeves comments that this awareness is crucial to her staff, noting that staff members are not always aware that disabilities can be invisible, as well as visible.

Looking ahead to the “Meet and Greet” in March, Ms. Reeves says that, as they are first and foremost a customer service focussed workplace, they are looking for candidates who are people-oriented. She also says that often, The Westin will hire an individual based on their attitude and realise that skills can be taught later, upholding the Champions philosophy that employers interview “for skill” and hire for “fit”.

Attendees of the “Meet and Greet” will learn more about the hotel industry and all the opportunities that exist within it. They are currently looking to fill positions in their kitchen and in their housekeeping team, as well as others, emphasizing that many people don’t realise the variety of opportunities within a hotel.

“We are a 24-hour operation, all kinds of shifts, all different skills. It’s like a big house, there are so many different jobs that you can do here,” she says.

For more information or to pre-register for The Westin “Meet and Greet” at Champions Career Centre, please call us 403.265.5374. Space is limited.

The importance of Employment Maintenance - Carrie's story

Thursday, February 20, 2014

“I went into the Employment Maintenance workshop with the plan to job hop, instead of dealing with my feelings or with the problem… after coming to Champions I realized that job hopping is hard, my life would be much easier if I just stayed somewhere.” says 21 year old Carrie*.

When she first came to Champions, Carrie, who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic migraines and chronic pain, had just been let go from her job. She felt  depressed and hopeless.

“The best thing about working with Champions was being reminded that I have skills, I have abilities, and I’m not the first person in the world who’s been fired!” she said enthusiastically.

Another aspect that appealed to Carrie was the variety of workshops that Champions offers to job candidates. The two that stood out for her were the Employment Maintenance and the Interview Skills workshops.

Employment Maintenance workshops are held each month in the Champions office. This workshop helps candidates to acquire and demonstrate basic strategies which assist in retaining employment, including:

  • Communicating and cooperating with co-workers and supervisors.
  • Problem-solving in the workplace; appropriate information sharing (boundaries).
  • Fully completing on-task expectations during work hours.
  • Selecting appropriate clothing for specific work sites.
  • Demonstrating employment expectations regarding punctuality.
  • Identifying and conveying to the employer those specific job site modifications which are deemed important to accommodate the limitations of the disability.
 The activity that stood out for Carrie was one in which she wrote down personal indicators which signalled that her mental health issues were starting to have a negative impact on her work. Her indicators included making mistakes, or not wanting to get up in the morning. The second part of this activity was to identify strategies which she could employ in order to address these indicators. The activity aims to give individuals a written plan of action to prevent further issues and to stop a spiral effect which may lead to an individual losing their job.

“One of my strategies was to remember to focus on my health, not just on work. Because if my health was bad, this translated into my work; another was to talk to my boss before things escalated.” says Carrie.

“I had thought about it before, but I had never written it down. That was really helpful. It was also good to talk about it in a group setting,” she added.

Carrie was also inspired by the other candidates in the room,“There was a man, I think he was an engineer, and he was just so positive, it was really refreshing...I realised that we're all different, but we've all had the same feelings at some point in life. Especially when it comes to getting a job,” she said.

Carrie’s experience with Champions made her reconsider her future plans to “job hop” and instead she plans to use the practical methods and support she received from Champions to stay at her new job as a retail associate in downtown Calgary.
 *name change.

Workplace inclusion tips from Champions

Monday, February 03, 2014

1 in 8 Albertans report having a disability; Learn how to talk about disabilities in your workplace. An inclusive workplace will save you time and money. 

Here are some do's and don'ts for employers:

Employer Do’s

  •  Do treat an individual with a disability the same way you would treat any applicant or employee – with dignity and respect.
  • Do learn where to find and recruit people with disabilities.
  • Do learn how to communicate with people who have disabilities.
  • Do ensure that your applications and other company forms do not ask disability–related questions and that they are in formats that are accessible to all persons with disabilities.
  • Do consider having written job descriptions that identify the essential functions of each position.
  • Do ensure that requirements for medical examinations comply with Labor Standards.
  • Do relax and make the applicant feel comfortable.
  • Do provide reasonable accommodations that the qualified applicant will need to compete for the job.
  • Do know that among those protected by the Human Rights Act are qualified individuals with AIDS, cancer, brain injury, deafness, blindness, and learning disability.
  • Do develop procedures for maintaining and protecting confidential medical records.
  • Do train supervisors on making reasonable accommodations.

Employer Don’ts
  • Don’t assume that people with disabilities do not want to work.
  • Don’t ask if a person has a disability during an employment interview.
  • Don’t assume that certain jobs are more suited to persons with disabilities.
  • Don’t hire a person with a disability if that person is at significant risk of substantial harm to the health and safety of the public and there is no reasonable accommodation to reduce the risk of harm.
  • Don’t hire a person with a disability who is not qualified to perform the essential functions of the job, even with a reasonable accommodation.
  • Don’t assume that the cost of insurance will increase as a result of hiring a person with a disability.
  • Don’t assume that reasonable accommodations are expensive.
  • Don’t speculate or try to imagine how you would perform a specific job if you had the applicant’s disability.
  • Don’t assume that your work place is accessible.
  • Don’t make medical judgements.
  • Don’t assume that a person with a disability can’t do a job due to apparent or non-apparent disabilities.
Call Champions for more tips on making your workplace inclusive 403.265.5374 or click here.