Congratulations to 2015 Large Business Nominee, Diply. The Large Business Award recognizes a company over 50 employees, that develops and applies the concept of ability first and best practices in recruitment, retention, and talent management.
The annual Ability First Coalition Champion Awards celebrate and honour businesses, companies, individuals and organizations that have hired and retained people with disabilities in London, Ontario and surrounding area.
Representative: Taylor Ablitt, Co-Founder & CEO
Can you tell us a little about your business?
Most people know us for Diply.com, a top 100 global website, and one of the fastest-growing websites in Internet history, specializing in trending content covering an array of topics from DIY to news to viral videos.
How long have you been in business?
We have been in business just over 2 years. We launched Diply in November of 2013.
How many employees do you have?
We currently have 76 employees….with over 50 hires this year alone.
Did you have any prior experience working with people with disabilities?
I’ve been volunteering with Special Olympics for 8 years now, coaching Alpine skiing in the winter and managing and coaching softball in the summer. I’m very excited about attending the National Games in Newfoundland for skiing this coming February!
How did this experience help shape your outlook?
It has changed me in many ways. It has allowed me to appreciate the little things in life - at the same time, working with the athletes in this capacity has given me a lot of excitement. I’ve never viewed it as a job, or something I need to do. It actually gives me time out of my busy schedule to put everything aside and just be in the moment. The amount of smiles and laughter and joy that my athletes have on a daily basis is very inspiring, and I would encourage people to volunteer and experience those opportunities if at all possible.
What were your initial feelings on hiring someone with a disability?
My initial thoughts were that I knew it was just finding enough work – finding things that people with disabilities could handle was my greatest fear – but I was surprised by how much our employee could take on and how little oversight was required once she fully understood the process and the work.
Why did you decide to hire someone with a disability?
I knew that by bringing her on board, it would be a morale boost for all of the other employees in the office. She’s brought a lot of joy and a cultural bump for all those that she has interacted with at work. She improves all our days, not to mention the hard work she does!
How did you go about finding the right person for the job?
The person we happened to hire was an athlete of mine during the 8 years that I volunteered with Special Olympics. From her work ethic as an athlete, I could tell she’d be a great fit for our office.
Can you describe one of the positions filled?
Our hire fills holds the position of Administrative Assistant. She assists with filing, shredding, delivering interoffice documents, makes coffee for the office, organizes the kitchen, puts dishes away, cleans up our boardroom, organizes our cupboards and closets, keeps our grocery list organized and provides general assistance around the office as needed.
How has this employee worked out for you?
Within a few short weeks, our employee had doubled her work hours, with a goal to have her working a full 40 hours per week within the next few months.
Were there any preconceptions you had about employing someone with a disability?
I don’t think I can say I had any preconceptions after having the opportunity to work and volunteer with SOO for 8 years – but previous to that, yes, I would have and can understand why people would have them. My advice to people who are contemplating it is to try it out, you have nothing to lose - employees with disabilities are like any other employee.
What are some of the most common misconceptions you hear other employers talk about when they learn you’ve hired people with disabilities?
Haven’t experienced that yet. From everyone that I’ve talked to, they are completely for this, and love the idea of it. It’s exciting to see that, and I hope with a little bit more exposure, people will begin to at least be open to this.
What is your advice for other employers?
Try it out! You have nothing to lose. I truly believe you will get back more than you give.
Please finish this sentence, “I hire for Ability First because…”
Because everybody deserves a shot. And if people can break down these preconceptions about what someone is, or what someone can do as a person with a disability, our workforce will be much better for it.