With a total of 19 resorts, luxury hotels and casinos, Sun International is the leader in the gaming, hospitality and entertainment sector. The Sun International brand is world renowned and exudes opulence, enduring quality and incredible adventure.
We were therefore completely humbled when Sun International chose Progression as their Disability Experts and partner to implement a Disability Strategy project within the organisation.
Though still in its implementation phase, this project has already made its mark as the first of its kind for Sun International and is being met with excitement and eagerness to know more.
Candice Lambert, Head of Strategy and Business Development at Progression, initially met with representatives from Sun International in December 2016. “The customer wanted a sustainable solution around disability management that they could implement in their business and ingrain in their culture, without just ticking boxes that have no link to the spirit of transformation,” says Candice.
The Proposed Solution
Progression, together with the client, developed a full Disability Strategy. The strategy is broken up into various phases that will be implemented over a period of time. The initial stage was mainly concerned with understanding the culture around disability and diversity in the organisation, while educating and empowering the Human Resources and Employment Equity departments regarding the scope and management of disability and other important aspects regarding disability legislation, disclosure and confidentiality. This was done through our uniquely designed Capacity Building sessions, facilitated by our disability expert, Justene Smith. To date, a total of 11 capacity building session have been held at over 6 Sun International sites.
The aim of this phase was to empower these staff members to drive a best practice model of communication and understanding around disability. The Capacity Building Workshops provided a platform to engage intimately with many issues that surround disability in the workplace, enabling delegates to confidently communicate Sun International’s message and guiding principles. Another objective of this phase was to gain insight into the various sites in order to inform and guide the roll-out of the next stage of the project.
The next step is to introduce the strategy to the entire organisation, including employees at all levels. This phase, currently in progress, involves the gathering of information in the form of opinions and beliefs regarding disability within the organisation and is the most critical part of the strategy. Disability Days are being conducted at various sites and provide a platform for gathering information regarding the culture and beliefs that exist within Sun International around disability, as well as creating a level of awareness and education around, among other topics, what constitutes a disability, the rights of people with disabilities in the workplace and how to disclose.
“The most effective way to do this is to communicate and integrate disability effectively by responding to items highlighted in the report generated from the previous stage” states Candice. Once again, Progression’s disability experts are visiting various Sun International sites, bringing disability awareness to the staff via our brand-new Disability Awareness and Sensitisation video. Through surveys and discussions with the staff, Progression will provide Sun International with data that points to the current culture in the business around diversity and disability.
This invaluable data will pave the way forward in terms of what the next phase will consist of and focus on. As we prepare to close out phase one, Progression is pleased to announce that significant progress has been made. “There have been more open and comfortable conversations in the business about disability, employees are asking more questions about disability-related topics, there is a keen interest in disability and diversity and most importantly, there is definitely evidence of a sustainable disability strategy developing at Sun International” comments Candice.
The next phase will be customised to directly respond to the previous stage and create a better, more relevant and effective approach for the company. “With a sustainable approach to disability management now in place, a better informed HR / EE team, more empowered staff who are now equipped with the knowledge of how to disclose, discuss and deal with disabilities in the organisation as well as improved staff retention, especially for people with disabilities, phase two will have a solid foundation for success,” says Candice.
The strategy will ultimately lead to a disability audit, which aims to determine the number of people with disabilities within Sun International. “As the workforce is empowered with knowledge around disability and the rights of people with disabilities in the workplace, we believe that more people will be willing to disclose their disability, ultimately increasing Sun International’s numbers.”
The overall strategy has already shown success and will continue to benefit employees with disabilities within Sun International, one of the main aims of the strategy. “They will be better reasonably accommodated throughout their careers with Sun International, will be more comfortable in their roles, their managers will be more accommodating and people with disabilities will be drawn to work at Sun International in the future” says Candice.
“We are excited to start the next phase of this project and be part of Sun International’s journey of true transformation,” concludes Candice.