Supporting and including all employees in the workplace is important for our employees, our customers and the community. We want to create an environment for everyone where we celebrate diversity and inclusion, and where acceptance is the norm, not the exception.

Today we mark International Day of People with Disability (IDPWD), a day to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability. It’s a good time to stop and reflect on the fact that 1 in 5 people in Australia have some form of disability, which equals around 4 million people. And 90% of all disabilities are not visible.

A large section of our society lives with disability, which is why we’re committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment that treats everyone equitably.

What we’re doing to walk the talk

We have a formal Action Plan which describes our commitments to inclusive employment, our responsibilities to our employees and their carers, as well as to our customers and to the wider community.

For our customers, we offer a range of products, services and programs to improve digital inclusion outcomes for our customers and communities, addressing each of the key barriers to inclusion: Access, Affordability and Digital Ability. These activities include ensuring our products and services are accessible for people with disability. A great example of this is our My Telstra app, which constantly reviews accessibility at every release ensuring that we meet the needs for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, or ability.

For the wider community, we focus our social investment on improving digital inclusion and enabling opportunities for access to employment prioritising disadvantaged, diverse, vulnerable communities. Our Tech4Good program has supported initiatives such as:

  • Autism CRC’s MyWay Employability project
  • Expression Australia’s Auslan Anywhere project
  • Orygen Digital’s Mello program
  • We’re an endorsing organisation for the Department of Social Services’ newly launched Disability Employment Strategy, which focuses on ensuring barriers for entering the workforce and employment process are addressed in a supportive and inclusive way.

    We’ve been awarded the Disability Confident Recruiter Accreditation from the Australian Network on Disability (AND). We work hard to create a barrier free recruitment process by providing access to recruiters and adjustments during the recruitment process.

    Through our Interview Guarantee, all shortlisted candidates (globally) who identify as living with a disability are automatically offered an interview. This means we can maximise our opportunity to consider people living with disabilities for open roles, and increase our pipeline of diverse talent.

    In FY21, we had a goal to achieve 10% representation of people with a disability in our graduate cohort. With our February 2021 intake we exceeded this goal with a 12% representation of people with a disability.

    In partnership with Specialisterne, a not-for-profit social innovation enterprise, we piloted a neurodiverse recruitment program in 2020 that looked at an alternative recruitment approach that removes barriers for Autistic individuals. We successfully onboarded the new employees through the pilot and created Autism Awareness Training for the hiring leaders and their teams so that they were ready to welcome new candidates. We continued our commitment to building an inclusive workplace by investing in our leaders through training, education and coaching circles for peer-to-peer support and learning.

    Our internal ability champions working for change

    All of this work is supported and championed by our employee representative group, TelstrAbility, a team of passionate Telstra employees supporting a culture and workplace where accessibility and disability is normalised, and everyone feels they belong.

    To celebrate IDPWD, some of our TelstrAbility members have collaborated on a short video where they answer a series of interesting and confronting questions about some of the challenges and biases they face each day.