Congratulations to 2015 Small Business Nominee, Extreme Indoor Golf. The Small Business Award recognizes a company under 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.
Nominee: Extreme Indoor Golf
Representative: Crissy Viglianti, President
Can you tell us a little about your business?
Extreme Indoor Golf is London’s only state of the art in door golf facility. We offer practice, game play, lessons, fund raising and private functions. We are also fully licenced to serve alcohol.
How long have you been in business?
We have been in business for 3.5 years.
How many employees do you have?
We have 6 employees.
Did you have any prior experience working with people with disabilities?
What were your initial feelings on hiring someone with a disability?
I was concerned about what limitations there would be and if there would be any complaints from our clients.
Our facility is by appointment only and is a fairly quiet environment. I was concerned that the employee would not understand golf etiquette and voice volume might be an issue. These concerns were addressed at the beginning of the placement and have not presented them self as an issue. Our employee has had experience in the golf industry and understands that golfers expect our facility to adhere to the same degree of golf etiquette as they would from an outdoor course.
Also not knowing what tasks I could put in place for him. We are working closely with the supervisors to find tasks that our employee can complete in a timely matter with little to no supervision. We have made a list of items that the employee needs to complete tasks independently and we have implemented the wearing of a lanyard with the tasks listed for the employee, so he can work independently, which we hope will encourage self esteem and task management skills for the future.
Why did you decide to hire someone with a disability?
We pride ourselves in providing a facility that offers fund raising opportunities and even plans events. Turning a person away just didn’t seem right. Also, when I heard that this employee worked at a golf course, it seemed to be a natural fit.
How did you go about finding the right person for the job?
We were approached by Leads Employment Services and they had a candidate who seemed to have the right attitude and knowledge to work well within our facility.
Can you describe one of the positions filled?
This employee comes in once a week to do some light cleaning and organizing. We will be meeting with Leads and the employee before the start day this year to ensure that we are not asking too much but also challenge him.
How has this employee worked out for you?
It has been a pleasure having this employee work with us. He always comes to work with excitement and is willing to try new tasks.
Were there any preconceptions you had about employing someone with a disability?
I did not have any preconceptions. My only concern was whether or not the person would be able to do the tasks set out for him.
What are some of the most common misconceptions you hear other employers talk about when they hear you’ve hired people with disabilities?
This is not a subject that I have every discussed with other employers.
What is your advice for other employers?
My advice to other employers is……you never know until you try. Our employee has been a great assist to our company and we look forward to having him back next year. I would tell them to ensure they have enough information and knowledge about the individual prior to the start date so they can set tasks according to the person’s abilities and needs.
Please finish this sentence, “I hire for Ability First because…”
It felt right.
What does being nominated for the Champion Awards mean to your business?
It is an honour which makes us proud. We are very pleased to have been able to contribute to our employee’s growing experience in life and work. Thank you to Leads Employment Services for introducing us and providing with the opportunity to enlighten ourselves and touch the life of an individual as special as our employee.