Megan started at London Drugs in 2017 as a Customer Service Associate. Through the support of a colleague who mentored her, she not only feel accomplished in her role, but a part of the London Drugs family. As a sign of this inclusive culture, Megan’s nametag reads: “Family Member since 2017”.
Megan was working at a grocery store but was looking for more hours – so she approached Jobs West, an employment program that enables people with developmental disabilities to find and maintain employment. She interviewed with the Assistant Manager and Human Resources Manager and got the job. This seemed to be a great fit as there’s always something to do and Megan likes a job where she can stay active.
When she started, she was reserved and sometimes too shy to ask questions. London Drugs assigned Megan to a mentor – Erma – who coached her in her role. “Erma helped me step out of my comfort zone and now I interact more with customers and I’m more comfortable asking questions when I need clarification” says Megan
Having worked at London Drugs for 41 years as a Shipper/Receiver, Erma handles all the inventory – from when it arrives to when it is shelved. She is responsible for merchandising, training, managing team members, and operational planning. “I love working with new employees. I put my 100% in every day, and this reflects in the people I work with” she added.
When asked for some tips on how she manages new staff members with various disabilities she offers:
- Give your team a sense of what the day looks like. Laying out the day ahead helps reduce anxiety and creates clarity so everyone is on the same page.
- Appreciate your team. People want to know they are a part of something successful – and want to feel that their contribution is making a difference. I show them how their accomplishments are adding to the bigger picture.
- Be flexible. If you notice one of your team members is tired, or needs a quick mental break – don’t wait until their scheduled half an hour lunch. Offer them 5 minutes to recoup and they will be better positioned for the rest of the day.
- Encourage questions. It can be intimidating to ask questions when you’re new and in some cases, when your previous experience asking questions hasn’t been positive.
- Build their area of expertise. Allow them to master a task, and then add one more thing onto their plate. Everyone wants to develop their skills – but let people do it at their own pace.
- Team people up. For some people, having a disability can be isolating as it can limit the availability of social interactions. Help people create a team at work where they get to know each other, rely on one another and support their peers.
When asked why Megan enjoys her work at London Drugs, there was a Megan answered that there was a sense of belonging within the organization. Megan said “I like knowing I am responsible for things and that people are relying on me to get the job done.”
Erma added “I get to be part of this amazing team of people and see people learn and grow.”
This story was condensed from a previous article written by Presidents Group. For the full article, visit: www.accessibleemployers.ca.