What we Learned: Epilepsy Smart Workplaces
Shannon Foley, Chief People Officer for disability support organisation Endeavour Foundation, told the 2023 Epilepsy Symposium that true inclusion comes down to four ‘As’: Advocacy, awareness, alignment and accountability.
“Advocacy relates to how, as an organisation, you are listening to people with lived experience… what their needs are, and what adjustments they might seek to be able to fully participate.
“Awareness is all about building capability and confidence in the workforce, in respect to matters important to people with lived experience … [including] building competency in your leaders and in their ability to recruit and successfully engage people with diversity in their teams.
“Alignment is all about ensuring that what’s on the packaging is what’s in the box. It means ensuring that you have substance – that you move from listening and awareness to real action… to acting on the reasonable adjustments required to remove barriers to employment participation and success and following through on those actions.
“The last ‘A’ is all about accountability. And this is all about good governance and about being held to account for doing what you say you will. Inclusion should be an ongoing conversation in workplaces; it should be focused on learning, evolving, improving.”
Shannon said that “good employers look for ways in which policies create positive outcomes for inclusion – not just eliminating the risk of discrimination”.
“The strategies I’ve talked about can be applied by organisations to ensure good employment outcomes for any person, including a person living with epilepsy. They are not hard or onerous to do. All they need is thought, care and commitment to implementing.
“When we get it right:
- Organisations benefit from ensuring that they don’t exclude talented people from the workplace
- Individuals benefit from being able to fairly access opportunities for work and career progression
- Society benefits when people can lead a full and purposeful life – the life that they choose.”
To find out more about Epilepsy Smart Workplaces – what you should expect from your employer or be working towards as an organisation – register here for access to recordings of last year’s Thinking Outside the Box | Epilepsy Symposium.