The HRD perspective: Angela Buxton, people director, Mencap
Why I love what I do
The Mencap culture promotes being a better person as much as performing well, and is based around our core values: inclusive, trustworthy, caring, challenging and positive. I love the impact we have on the lives of people with learning disabilities, whether it’s challenging injustice or supporting people into employment.
We created a learning disability advisory forum which directly advises our trustee board – and our talent programme has seen two employees promoted into high-profile roles within Mencap.
We approach talent in a more fluid way. HR puts too much faith in systems to churn out the most talented. I’d ban the competency-based interview. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach which fails to capture the real person in front of you.
It raises employee morale, job satisfaction and helps develop a workforce that is more aware of diversity and how to harness different strengths. You may also improve your vacancy and retention rates. If well-supported early on, people with a learning disability will be loyal, hard-working and conscientious.
We’re here to help
Take on an employee (as part of a scheme such as Learning Disability Work Experience Week) and we can provide full support in advance. We’ll raise awareness of learning disabilities within your organisation, and help ensure you have a good work-match with your employee.
We also help reconstruct roles to help people perform better. One of our employees with a learning disability is one of the best public speakers, but struggles with written English. If the former is so good, why worry about the latter?
Over time, we step back; we’ll always be here as a sounding board, but it’s important to allow you to build your own capability in managing a diverse team.
There needs to be a shift in attitudes and behaviour. An important part is to see more people with a learning disability having careers. I’d like to see all people treated as individuals and move away from implementing an ‘initiative’ around this agenda, making it the ‘norm’.