#NZLEAD PREVIEW: Disabled HR Professionals = An Enabled Human Resources Profession

Anne T

This week we’re turning the equality spotlight onto HR and ask: “What has the profession done to encourage disabled people to sign up?” Yes, we know we’re great at encouraging disabled people to apply for posts within your organisation – but what’s our track record of enticing them into HR itself?

The discussion is going to be based on the blog published earlier this month – see http://annetynan.wordpress.com/. As you will see when you read it, Anne went looking on the internet for information about disabled people working as HR professionals. The topic has interested her for a long time so when David D’Souza roped her in to his ambitious Book of Blogs project, it was an obvious choice.

If you can’t be bothered to read the blog, the executive summary is:

There appears to be little or no publicly available information about the issue of disabled people working as HR professionals. This means no research, no recorded experiences or case studies, no career advice, no targeted information for applicants and candidates. The results that did come up when you type ‘disabled HR professionals’ into Google invariably highlighted a division, with ‘disabled people’ on one side and ‘HR professionals’ on the other – i.e. it’s a ‘them and us’ scenario. HR has clearly done a great job helping other professions to open up to disabled people but it is now time for it to look to itself to do the same

Why is this topical for #NZLEAD?

Currently underway in New Zealand is the 2013 Disability Survey, with the results due next year. The previous survey (2006) is awash with data and “describes the types of industries and occupations that disabled people are employed in and compares them with those of non-disabled people.”

Look 2013 Disability Survey

Occupations are broken down into 9 major groups so the data is unrefined but the 2 groups most relevant to HR are: ‘Professionals’ – 8% disabled ‘Clerks’ – 9% disabled

What about HR?

Do we know how many disabled people work in the profession? Do we have any inkling of the impact that they have on its workings? Do we understand how they contribute to the image of Human Resources as perceived by other employees?

Questions for #NZLEAD

1. What is your experience of disabled people working in HR?

2. What are the benefits of knowing the numbers and characteristics of disabled people who work in HR and their impact on others?

3. Do you think that employees find HR more approachable if they can see that disabled people are well-integrated into the department?

4. What could/should organisations such as HRINZ and CIPD do to encourage disabled people to consider a career in HR?

Get in contact with Anne via @AnneTynan or look her up on LinkedIn or her website https://sites.google.com/site/tynanequality/


#NZLEAD RECAP: Review of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

We all seem to agree that it is tougher for woman to progress to leadership positions. Men, generally speaking, do have less pressure when it comes to working and raising a family. More often than not, they don’t have to take breaks in their career and are more supported in their decision to work, rather than raise a family.

This is not just an issue of societal pressures on woman, family life, the ‘glass-ceiling’ or the boys club. As woman, we’re actually not doing ourselves any favors. Let’s stop blaming the blokes. Because when you break it down a lot of this problem actually lies with us, and by us I mean WOMAN. We need to take ownership of these issues.

A lot of the time we are not actually seen as effective leaders. We either take on a masculine style or are ineffective because we’re easily threatened by whippersnappers. In the hard fight for leadership roles, we are forgetting that we need to be comfortable empowering leadership in other woman. We are creating a glass ceiling, just as much as men.

Also, woman need to stop judging each other for the decisions that they make! It is not our business to dictate the decisions of other woman in respect to their career and family. Look at the uproar around Marissa Mayer. If that’s what works for her, then how is it our business to get up in arms about it?

How does this judgement behavior encourage others to stick their necks out and go for the things that would normally be “a mans job” or “not woman like”? Sheryl’s experiences shows us that, as a woman, she felt reluctant to voice her success or go for things that woman don’t necessarily do for the fear of being judged or “not liked”. If we, as woman, don’t stop judging each other, how will we ever move forward and be successful in the pursuit of equality in all aspects of life?

Both men and woman agree that woman don’t go for roles that we perceive we are un-qualified for. This is a barrier for progression to leadership roles. If we don’t put our hand up and take the opportunity to close skill gaps, we will never be seen as confident or willing to learn. Men are confident and want to be seen as successful, so they take jobs that they haven’t done before and they excel (not all, but most). We need to step up, take a job where we might not tick all the boxes and just do it!

The bottom line is if we’re getting the right woman into leadership positions then they can develop the next generation of female leaders.

The evolution starts here.