Felicia Nurmsen Interview, WWL Employment Summit

Uploaded by communityinclusion on 16.03.2010

As far as Adecco being an innovator in employing people with disabilities,
and then furthering that with other companies,
and especially with our client companies, it is just a
natural progression for us, I think, being in the staffing industry.
I think because we have the access to clients,
it makes it much easer for us to be a champion.
In saying, you know, look at the success that we've had internally,
in employing people with disabilities,
in working with, you know, agencies like Mass Rehab Commission,
and others. We work in a local level as well as on a national level.
But when you talk about the innovations of it, it really is about
having that message come from the top
but then, having it be strategically so that we can
implement it in the field. I think that ultimately,
that's where some of the breakdown happens.
With other companies, is you may get the message from the top,
but then you have no clear way of how to implement it in the field.
And we do, as far as Adecco is concerned,
because obviously we are the experts in staffing,
we're the experts in hiring,
and that is hiring people based on abilities.
You know, we always like to say, especially in my office,
prequalify, don't disqualify.
And I think that's what's made us so successful.
I think as far as making accommodations for people with disabilities,
and in making it easier, I guess, for people with disabilities to work
in our environment, as well as working with our client companies,
again, it is about, because...we really work more as a conduit,
you know, employing, we are the person's employer,
but it is about helping our clients to understand, and to help them
to understand what those accommodations may be.
It can be a challenge at times, but I think one of the things that we've been
really successful in, again, is by working through our
National Business Diversity Counsil, and working closely with
our diversity manager and our VP of diversity, Lois Cooper,
and finding out what we've done, what we've been able to do
in the field, then we all share those, and come back and
kind of formulate best practices.
And I think that that makes it much easier for us to be able to go ahead,
hire the person based on their ability,
and then share the information with our clients
because it's coming from a greater place, you know,
if you will, a much bigger source, and being able to share those succeses.
So I think that that helps with the comfort level,
for our client especially, because they know that
they're not the guinea pig, so to speak.
It's that we're not just trying this out on them,
this is something that we have been successful in implementing
throughout the country. Massachusetts in particular has been the leader in that,
and been able to really launch that, especially as, you know,
concerning people with disabilities.
But I think that that helps, with our...client companies, if you will,
to be more accepting of it, because we do...success, if you will.
Well, I think really, our participation in, we had the Employer Summit in May,
and it was something that was kind of born out of an idea
that Bill Allen and I had, and then we were able to gain the buy in from
our leadership, which was hugely important, obviously,
in being able to execute the event, and working with UMass as well.
You know, UMass is the CHPR or MICEO grant, I'm sorry,
that funded the...that funded the event...
It really was hugely important for us to have that buy in
from the...top leadership, and to show our commitment,
and on an ongoing basis, where, you know, we are very committed
and our CEO was at the summit. He gave a keynote speech,
he wanted to be here today, but unfortunately he wasn't able to do that,
and we have our vice president of diversity and employee relations
here today. We have, you know, our senior vice president of the
Northeast has been very active in this as well.
So I think that, you know, we can honestly say
that you really do need to have, it's very important to have that
from a leadership standpoint, and have it come from the top.
Again, but then to have the plan in place so that you can actually implement it
in the field, because vision is nothing...
if there's no tactical process to it, and you can't really implement it.
So, we have it all the way from the top,
from our CEO of Adecco Group North America,
to, you know, to the field people as well.
I'm happy say that we have enjoyed a great deal of success
with our partnership with Mass Rehab, as well as Abilities Inc.,
and NBDC, but locally I know that one true success story for us was
we did place someone with one of our client companies,
and he was hired on full-time.
It was a temp to perm position,
let him know it was a temp to perm position, he was definitely interested,
he was hired, and then at the end of the temporary period he was hired full-time.
And in that same year he actually won
their Employee of the Year award, which was huge for us.
I think that that is just a great testiment to the success of the program,
and how we are able to employ people, again, based on their abilities,
and have the right fit.
So we love that, and then we actually perfomed an on the job evaluation,
in my office with a person who had Asperger's,
and I was very resistant, you know, I can tell you that I have had, you know,
I've completed 25 on-the-job evaluations, but I really had no idea
what I was going to be able to do with this person in my office, honestly.
And it was the best experience we have ever had, as far as the
on-the-job evaluation program is concerned.
He was fabulous. My staff, after he was done with his
internship, if you will, his evaluation period,
they said "Thank you so much for having him in our office."
It just showed us that it doesn't matter, that the disability doesn't matter,
it's about the person's ability. And he was off the charts on things,
and just really enriched our environment by being there.
So, it was a huge success for us, so that we knew that
there wasn't anything that we couldn't do.