Myth busting and mainstreaming disability.

Client: Ministry of Social Development.

Statistics prove that 1 in 5 people are disabled in some way. But, because the right tools aren’t currently being provided, employers might not be getting the best out of them, or overlooking this un-harnessed resource of valuable workers. 

We created a new toolkit for employers that distils a complex subject down to 5 action steps and breaking 5 myths.

The Brief

The Honourable Ministers Paula Bennett (State Services) and Nicky Wagner (Disability Issues) “wanted the State Sector to take a leadership role in employing disabled people. Employing disabled New Zealanders will give the public confidence that the State Sector understands, and is responsive to, the needs of its diverse citizens”.

Our brief was to develop an integrated “How to” toolkit to help break down unfounded stigma for employing disabled people. Whilst some existing support material did exist, it was not tailored to the public sector, disparate and a needs gap was identified. A focused, recognisable message was required to create momentum, de-stigmatise pre-conceptions and drive behavioural and cultural changes in employing disabled people.

This initiative is part of a bigger picture objective of mainstreaming disability, demonstrating how the public service gets the best people to do the job.

The Solution

Taking an active ‘Lead’ was key and we worked to define what this looked like for Managers. 

‘Lead’ was developed as a bright, vibrant, accessible and active identity to reflect the diversity and richness of this un-tapped workforce. Recognising the ‘1 in 5’ of us who are identified as disabled in some way, a dynamic graphic 5-part arrow device was designed to speak to this fact and amplify the misperceptions around 5 central myths about employing disabled people. It also conveniently spoke to the 5 chapters in the “Lead Toolkit”.

The arrow device actively arms Managers with accumulated knowledge to make informed decisions. The identity was applied across multi-media platforms: at its heart, the Lead Toolkit; a companion DVD; and content hosted on the State Services Commission website – along with accessible, downloadable sectioned PDFs for easy consumption.

The Results

In the eyes of the Ministry, success would be realised when ‘more disabled people are employed in everyday jobs, contributing valuably to the makeup of the workforce’. In March 2016 this initiative was launched at a Public Sector forum. Whilst the results will grow with time and changing attitudes, a Lead has been taken to realise diversity and mainstream disability as a real, everyday part of our workplaces and the wider community. 

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