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"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom" - Aristotle - How can this possibly help reduce the disability employment gap?

As we begin a new year, celebrating life's opportunities that await us in 2024, for those of us working with people that have a disability, we take the time to re-examine how we can best reduce the disability employment gap for our clients. We have to find ways to ensure our clients have the array of skills employers are seeking in employees!

One of the most important factors for employers when hiring is the ability of people to "get on" and "be nice" in the workplace, to be able to work positively in a team - only this morning i read a post on LI by an employer who stated the following in relation to hiring new staff:

✅ What I do care about:

- That you're a nice person.

- That you're willing to learn.

- That you're hard working.

❌ What I do not care about:

- What university qualifications you have.

- If you have done the role before.

- Age

This is a powerful reminder to us all about how important Social and Emotional skills are in our career and its development - none of what mattered to the employer referred to above was related to the persons actual job task skills - its all about interpersonal skills. Prof Con Stough at Aristotle is leading the way in this area through his Aristotle program in schools - the earlier that young people can be taught these skills, the more successful at school they are likely to be - both socially and academically. His research is showing the dramatic positive impact social and emotional learning has on our kids - from a very young age, and they then carry these skills into adulthood and the workplace.

If we have missed out on these teachings while at school - its NEVER too late to develop these skills - there is lifelong opportunity to continue to work on developing our social and emotional skills. Attending Emotional Intelligence(EI) training develops social and emotional management skills, and enhances our ability to win new roles and achieve positive relationships in the workplace.

Any training that enhances our EI skills is beneficial to obtaining our career of choice - and begins with enhancing our Self Awareness - see the graphic below which provides a summary of Daniel Goleman's EI Model. We cant possibly work out other people and how to get along with them until we understand ourselves - what motivates us, what triggers our fears, what we run from, what we run to - so the first step in developing EI is achieving improving self awareness. From there we can move on to developing our understanding of others and improving relationships.

The success of positive communication with others is driven by EI skills - having difficult conversations; utilising tact and diplomacy to drive positive communication are teachable skills. Being able to tell someone the truth in a way that takes into account their feelings, and tell them sensitive or difficult information while preserving your relationship with them is a profoundly beneficial skill - and is especially imperative to success in the workplace.

I have heard people say "that's just who I am, I am just a brash person with others" - I have seen these same people develop much improved communication skills after EI training. It is imperative to understand that experiencing trauma significantly impacts our ability to manage our emotions and interactions with others, so receiving training in understanding this impact and how to manage it substantially improves our communication skills and chances of being successful in obtaining and sustaining work.

Integral to capacity building, rehabilitation and successfully achieving a return to pre injury or new employment is providing assistance to developing EI and communication skills, and working with consultants that are trained to assist clients to manage their emotions and interactions with others dramatically increases a clients ability to successfully return to or find new employment. So look for these things when selecting someone to assist you!

Give emotional and social learning a try and reap the benefits in all areas of your life!

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