GHD is leading the way with it’s disability inclusion framework

Coralee Fitzgibbon

GHD is leading the way with its disability inclusion framework after being named in the 2023 Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion by Disability:IN, a global nonprofit helping organisations achieve disability inclusion and equality in the workplace.

This is GHD’s first time participating in the annual US-based Disability Equality Index. Although it is a US award for a global initiative, the work that led to GHD’s win took place across its whole enterprise, including New Zealand.

Despite being at the beginning of its disability inclusion journey, GHD’s inclusion and diversity leader for Asia Pacific, Coralee Fitzgibbon, says the award shows great strides can be made in this realm with a clear focus and dedication.

GHD’s first initiative to accelerate disability inclusion across the enterprise was to formalise a global accessibility working group. The group prioritised four main work streams covering learning and development, digital accessibility, physical accessibility, and people policies/talent acquisition. Fitzgibbon says GHD’s executive leadership team endorsed the work streams and ensured accountability by assigning team members to sponsor each one.

An example of some tangible outcomes to date have come from GHD’s digital team who have been testing digital content with an accessibility lens leading to changes; and providing training to ensure communications and technology were accessible. The team also regularly reviews the website and tests all products for accessibility.

Fitzgibbon says GHD also has a neurodiversity employee resource group operating across many of its locations, including being recently established for the New Zealand Pacific business. The group aims to cultivate members’ courage enabling them to thrive, by raising awareness of neurodiversity within GHD, promoting an inclusive and accommodating work environment, and supporting neurodivergent employees and their managers, including individuals with neurodivergent whānau.

In 2022, GHD held its inaugural celebrations for International Day of People with Disabilities, and is celebrating again this year. Fitzgibbon says this global campaign is about creating action to increase staff awareness of the importance of disability inclusion, including how staff can individually support this within the workplace. She says employees’ professional and technical career progression is enhanced in environments fostering inclusion and belonging.

Fitzgibbon says this award supports GHD’s aspiration to be a leading employer in inclusion and diversity. It is committed to focusing on the benefits greater inclusion provides its employees, clients and the industry, and she says disability inclusion is a vital element in this journey.

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