Beyond The Customer is Always Right

by: Andrew K Lundgren, MA, LMFT, LPC
Training & Curriculum Development Specialist
Dirkse Counseling & Consulting, Inc.

If you have ever worked in the realm of retail or toiled orders of food from the “back of the house” to the “front of the house”, you know that polarizing phrase that has allowed an abrasive customer to treat an employee rudely: “The customer is always right”. This slogan has been used to improve the customer experience for over 100 years. The phrase, attributed to Marshall Field and Harry Gordon Selfridge, instructed its employees to provide exemplary customer service in their high-end department stores. Today, companies realize that how they perceive and treat their employees is equally, if not more, important to the customer experience.

Businesses, more than ever, are focusing on a culture of diversity and inclusion, not because it meets compliance, but because it improves the bottom line. Let’s hear that again. Focusing on inclusion in the workplace improves the bottom line for business. Instead of bending over backwards to meet unruly or brash customers, companies are integrating a diverse framework into their workforce. By doing so, they empower employees, believe in them, and provide for them so that positive customer experience is a byproduct. A 2019 Harvard Business Review found that when a company has a focus on the employee experience it appears “twice as often on the American Customer Satisfaction Index” and financially it is more than 4 times as profitable.

With over one billion people globally who have disabilities, businesses need to consider how to fully integrate the needs of people with disabilities. Taking a proactive stance toward inclusion of people with disabilities has a two-fold effect. In one sense it allows companies to attract talented people from a larger pool of applicants and in another, it allows its diverse workforce to innovate and create a pipeline to a larger customer base. All of this, by including people with disabilities and making the workplace more accessible.  Also, companies that include people with disabilities have found they experience lower turnover, have the same if not better job performance, attendance records, and even safety records than their counterparts without a disability. Doing inclusion allows employees to acquire an intrinsic value out of work. This ultimately has a ripple effect on the customer experience (without mandating that the “customer is always right”).

However, creating a culture of inclusion within the workplace is not a simple declaration. Companies must be willing to consider how to implement a strategic plan toward inclusion. Businesses “must deliberately create an environment where differences, talents and perspectives are maximized in order to create high-performing” employees (2019, Burden).

To learn more about this topic of inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities, be sure to join us at our 3rd annual Amplify! Success at Nike WHQ in Beaverton on October 16th, 1:00-5:00pm. 

Become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2019! contact Cindy Bahl @ 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com

Amplify! Is an initiative of Dirkse Counseling & Consulting, Inc. That includes two annual events, Amplify! Success in October and Amplify! Rock Stars in May.  Events are designed to inspire, empower and equip employers to create a more inclusive workplace for people with diverse abilities.

REFERENCES

Burden, Lisa. “Not being greeted in the morning is not retaliation, district court says.” HR Dive. Web. Retrieved August 08 2019, from https://www.hrdive.com/news/not-being-greeted-in-the-morning-is-not-retaliation-district-court-says/560587/.

Ceridian. (2019). 2019 human capital management trends: perspective on how technology will shape the world of work. Retrieved August 8, 2019, from http://images.knowhow.ceridian.com/Web/CeridianCorporation/%7B38b85f52-d12f-43ed-b268-9c89d171a541%7D_RR-NA-EN-NP-114788-101-Top-HCM-Trends-2019.pdf?_ga=2.101840392.829485349.1565724816-1213647773.1565724816

Lengnick-Hall, M., & Gaunt, P. (2007). Why employers don’t hire people with disabilities. Hidden talent: how leading companies hire, retain, and benefit from people with disabilities (pp. 25-33). London: Praeger.

UN World Health Organization (WHO), World Report on Disability: Summary, 2011, WHO/NMH/VIP/11.01, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/50854a322.html [accessed 11 August 2019]

McBain, H. (1944, November). Are Customers Always Right? The Rotarian, Retrieved from Google Books.

Broadcasting the Message

by Cindy Bahl
Director of Business Development and Amplify! Events
Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

Have you ever been on TV? Ever had an interview, live or recorded? If you have, you know it’s a little nerve-wracking for anyone, even those who have done it before. I’ve been given the opportunity multiple times throughout my career, having worked in social/human services and community engagement for many years. However, it had been a few years since my last “5 minutes of fame” when I was asked by a friend to do a recorded interview. I jumped at the chance, not because I want the fame or relish being in front of a camera (I really don’t like hearing myself talk!). However, I readily agreed because I do love sharing my passion and our Dirkse CC and Amplify! story with others.

For me, when I’m passionate about something, I want to share with anyone who will listen. Whether it’s on public television, a podcast, a written article or on Facebook, I want people to know what we do to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. I hope that someone will watch, listen or read and be inspired to get involved in some way. So, I seek out opportunities to share our story, to educate, and perhaps motivate, because it’s not about me, but for those we serve and for those who are often left out of the conversation.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and watch this short interview with me and my friend and associate, Mr. Philip Mandel, an accomplished pianist, proud Toastmaster and Realtor at Ascend Realty and Property Management in Beaverton. Thanks for the opportunity, Phil!

Save the Date: Amplify! Rock Stars 2019

Secure your spot now and plan on another inspiring morning full of success stories and celebrations!

May 23, 2019 9:00am – 11:30am
Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington Square

Registration is open, but we’re still building out the day’s agenda. Please continue to check back for updates!

Partner with us! You too can become a sponsor and partner of Amplify! Help us promote diversity and inclusion in our workforce and community – ASK US HOW – contact Cindy Bahl @ 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com

A New Year Challenge – New Year, New Employer, New YOU!

Featured image above: Amplify Success! October, 2018 Success Story – Abby Monger, employed at 5 Guys Burgers & Fries, pictured with Dirkse CC Employment Specialist, Chris Perry

by Cindy Bahl
Director of Business Development and Amplify! Events
Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

A New Year Challenge – New Year, New Employer, New YOU! 

The New Year brings many opportunities for change.  Resolutions abound to lose weight, exercise more, eat less, drink less; read more books, and so on.  There is potential for a resolution for everyone and just about everything; so how about a resolution to help your workplace have a more inclusive culture toward people with disabilities?  It’s a resolution that is pretty easy, unlike so many others we tend to make and quickly break.

This past year our team at Dirkse CC assisted over 30 individuals who experience various disabilities in obtaining employment in our community, many of whom were featured in previous posts or at Amplify! events.  The success stories happened because, in many cases, employers made a commitment to become more inclusive and look at the skills and abilities of each candidate, matching them with their business need.

How can YOU create a success story in your workplace?

It all starts with YOU!  Here are a few tips or possible New Year’s resolutions to consider:

  • Increase your knowledge about disabling conditions – Participate in trainings, read articles and books that focus on disabilities.
  • Advocate for people with disabilities – Volunteer, offer support, participate in Employee Resource Groups (or form one at your workplace!)
  • Check your unconscious bias – Be aware of labels, assumptions and pre-conceived notions based on myths, experience or what you think you know about disabling conditions.
  • Put PEOPLE first – Use “people first” language, such as “a person with a disability” versus “a handicapped person.”

Become a catalyst for change in 2019 – it all starts with YOU, wherever you are; see the ability in others!

If your workplace needs a challenge to become more inclusive in the New Year, we can help!  Our Dirkse CC training team provides complimentary consultations and customized training to help employers meet their disability diversity and inclusion goals.  We also offer workshops for individuals and businesses throughout the year.  Visit our website and join our email list to learn more and stay informed.  www.dirksecc.com

The Amplify! initiative was created by Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc. with the support of Oregon Employment First and is sustained by collaboration with numerous employer and community partners.  For more information or to be involved in the Amplify! Initiative, please contact Cindy Bahl, Director of Business Development and Amplify! Events at 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

Save the Date: Amplify! Rock Stars 2019

May 23, 2019 9:00am – 11:00am
Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington Square

Registration is open, but we’re still building out the day’s agenda. Please continue to check back for updates!

Disability Workplace Inclusion: What is Your Vision?

by Cindy Bahl
Director of Business Development and Amplify! Events
Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

Disability Workplace Inclusion: What is Your Vision? 

This was the theme of the second annual Amplify! Success event held on October 23, 2018 at Nike World Headquarters. The goal of Amplify! is to improve access to competitive integrated employment for job seekers with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities by engaging employers and the community in creating a culture of workplace inclusion. Over 150 people gathered for a high energy morning where they heard stories of challenge, tenacity, success and visions of inclusion from people who have been in the trenches and others who are leading new efforts in the cause. Attendees collaborated to explore and formulate their own personal vision and action plan to promote change, no matter what position they hold within a company or the community.

As one Amplify! attendee John Paul Devires, Nike Senior Application Engineer, stated, “Amplify! is the bridge between where companies are and where they need to be.”

If you missed Amplify! Success you can still join the initiative to change culture right where you are and we can help!  Click below and complete the “Oregon Disability Diversity Challenge” and let’s talk about your diversity and inclusion goals.

The Amplify! initiative was created by Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc. with the support of Oregon Employment First and is sustained by collaboration with numerous employer and community partners.  For more information or to be involved in the Amplify! Initiative, please contact Cindy Bahl, Director of Business Development and Amplify! Events at 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

Thank You to our Sponsors and Collaborating Partners

Delivering the Amplify! event takes a community of engaged sponsors and partners. We couldn’t provide such a robust program without their help. Follow the links below to view our Fall 2018 Sponsors and Partners!

Upcoming Events

Opportunities To Build An Inclusive Workforce

Do you want to learn more about the Project Search Internship Program?  Join us for the Project Search Power Hour – Education and Cultivation – A New Networking Event

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
9:00-10:00am
Kaiser Westside Medical Center

Oregon Conference Room (Lower Level)
2875 NW Stucki Ave.
Hillsboro, OR 97124

CLICK to RSVP

Amplify! Rock Stars

SAVE-THE-DATE!

May 23, 2019
Embassy Suites by Hilton, Washington Square, Portland, Tigard
9000 SW Washington Square Rd.
Tigard, OR 97223

Disability Diversity Workshop – Normalizing Disability: Creating a Culture of Inclusion

December 5th, 2018 – 12-3pm
The Beaverton Round Executive Suites

This interactive workshop is designed to take participants into a deeper dive regarding the world of disability as it relates to the employment experience. Participants will explore their personal experiences, perceptions and beliefs about disability, gain knowledge about common conditions and learn the building blocks of what it takes to create an inclusive workplace. Workshop registration fee includes lunch.

Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

by Cindy Bahl
Director of Business Development and Amplify! Events
Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

“America’s Workforce: Empowering All” is the theme for the 2018 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) (DOWNLOAD the poster) that occurs each October since 1945. The purpose of NDEAM is to educate and celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities. “Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation.”

The Portland Metro area has an opportunity to acknowledge NDEAM and the achievements of individuals with disabilities by attending the 2nd annual Amplify! Success event, October 23rd, 9-1pm at Nike WHQ in Beaverton.

Attendees of this high-energy, motivational event will experience a continental breakfast, lunch, networking, professional breakout sessions, insights from Nike Inclusion Leaders and an inspirational story from local athlete and public speaker, Karen Gaffney. Karen’s story features the challenges she faced while swimming the frigid cold waters of Lake Tahoe and the motivation behind her accomplishments; including finding meaningful employment as a person with Down Syndrome.

Amplify! Success is a program of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc. A local agency serving the Portland Metro area for 21 years with a mission of connecting job seekers with disabilities to their employment goals and providing disability diversity training and consultation services to employers.

For more information or to become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2018, contact Amplify! Event Coordinator, Cindy Bahl at: 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

A Solution to DHA/OHA Staffing Needs

Guest Blog by Jeff Akin
DHS|OHA Imaging and Records Management Administrator
@jefftakin

“What do you mean we have a pallet of mail to open? And there’s more coming?” 

Sometimes, the realization you’re in over your head and that you need help slaps you across the face like a… well, like a pallet of mail! The office I work in processes various types of mail that is sent to the Oregon Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority. This mail, Oregon Health Plan applications, Medicaid billing claims, Employment Related Day Care payment vouchers and more, is opened, sorted, scanned and processed for electronic workflow. These are critical pieces of mail that directly impact Oregonians. So, you can imagine our panic when the incoming mail far outpaced the number of people we had to process it!

We reached out to the Employment First program for help. They were able to match us with 9 people that had the skills to help us out with our mail problem. In addition to having the skills we needed and the desire to work, these people had intellectual and developmental disabilities. They took to the work right away! Within a few days they were making a significant dent in the mail. It didn’t take long at all for them to become an integral part of our team.

Why reach out to Employment First? Why seek out people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for employment? Simple – dignity. People want to enjoy their work; they want to do work that makes a difference. We had an opportunity to provide that to people; people that had connected with Employment First because of their desire to work. A job provides a paycheck, but for an employer to offer dignity and purpose in addition to that… well, that’s what I believe we’re here to do.

Some time has passed since we first hired our team of 9 people. Since then, four of them have been promoted, one into a different office. They add to the fabric of our daily work lives by serving on our safety committee, our fun committee and participating in process improvement initiatives. I am confident we made the best possible decision when we hired them, and I know this because of this quote that one of our team members says on a nearly daily basis: “This is the best job I’ve ever had. I just love coming to work every day!”

To learn more from Jeff and other local Inclusion Leaders about how you can make your workplace more inclusive, register and attend Amplify! Success on October 23rd, 9-1pm at Nike WHQ in Beaverton.  The high-energy, inspiring morning includes breakfast, lunch, professional breakout sessions, Keynote Speaker  Karen Gaffney and more!

Amplify! Success is a program of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

For more information or to become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2018, contact Amplify! Event Coordinator, Cindy Bahl at: 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

The Untapped Workforce

By Cindy Bahl

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest contributor to the Portland Business Journal (PBJ) and their series on the labor shortage entitled, “How Oregon Works”.  The September 7th issue focused on Construction and Field Work to offer new and innovative solutions to a statewide labor shortage.  In past issues, the PBJ covered industries such as healthcare and technology with future issues aimed at agriculture, manufacturing and education.  The series so far has addressed the lack of diversity in all segments of the workforce, but the articles have failed so far to discuss the opportunity to include people with disabilities, or what we call the “untapped workforce.”  My submission and inclusion to the series became an opportunity to share a few short success stories of how people with disabilities can contribute to the workforce in the construction-related field.

Every industry has the opportunity to be inclusive and incorporate people with disabilities into their workforce.  The opportunity is not industry specific. It is available to all employers, large or small, to completely diversify and reap the benefits of inclusion of all diversity categories, including disability.

One key to success involves a vision for an inclusive, receptive culture that values the unique skill sets of every individual.  This environment is not always present but is possible and developed through training and education from professionals like those at Dirkse Counseling & Consulting.

Join us for Amplify! Success on October 23rd at Nike WHQ in Beaverton for “Disability Workplace Inclusion: What is Your Vision?”  You will be inspired and motivated to formulate your own vision for inclusion in your life and in your industry, organization or business.

Amplify! Success is a program of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

For more information or to become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2018, contact Amplify! Event Coordinator, Cindy Bahl at: 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

People Are Talking!

By Cindy Bahl

How often do you rate, review or give a testimony about a business when you’ve used their services? Maybe you’ve had some work done on your car from a trusted local mechanic who not only took care of the services you paid for but also discovered a potential problem and made recommendations, saving you time and money while also providing great customer service. Did you take the time to give your mechanic a positive review?

Testimonials, reviews and ratings are especially important today in business. Most of us are using websites such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook to check out ratings and what people are saying about a business before purchasing a product or trying out a service. We want to know what others think and what their experience was like before we decide to try something new. Companies are working hard to get consumers to rate and write reviews, some even offer incentives like coupons or discounts on future transactions, all to help boost sales, create awareness and engagement with their audience.

So, if you missed the Amplify! Success event last October and are unsure about registering for our 2nd annual event coming up October 23rd at Nike WHQ in Beaverton, don’t take my word for it that you should to attend! Here are just a few testimonials from past attendees:

  • “What an inspiring event. I learned so much and am looking forward to learning much more.” Maria Isabel Chandra, MBA – HR Administrator, Latino Network
  • “Such a wonderful presentation and stories.” Stacy Ruthrauff – HR Director, City of Tualatin
  • “Amazing Event!” Jennifer Edeline – Supervisor, Talent Acquistion, Providence Health & Services

People are talking about Amplify! Success and you won’t want to miss this year’s event with the theme: Disability Workplace Inclusion: What is Your Vision? It promises to be a morning with inspiration and information to help you create a vision for inclusion for yourself and in your workplace. We can’t wait to share your testimonies!

Amplify! Success is a program of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

For more information or to become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2018, contact Amplify! Event Coordinator, Cindy Bahl at: 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

What Is Your Vision?

By Cindy Bahl

According to SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management) “a vision statement looks forward and creates a mental image of the ideal state that the organization wishes to achieve.”  By developing a vision for the future, businesses can create a guide for the growth they want to see in their company, whether that’s creating an environment for creativity, a focus on improving their community, or advocating for the inclusion of all people in the workforce.

The 2nd annual Amplify! Success event theme is: “Disability Workplace Inclusion: What is Your Vision?” Amplify! Success will assist you in creating your own vision statement and inspire you to create a vision of inclusion, wherever you are.  Inclusion starts with YOU as an individual and with YOU as a member of a larger community and organization.  Regardless of your position or role, YOU can make a difference in disability diversity and inclusion by creating your own vision for inclusiveness.

Plan now to join us on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 from 9:00am-1:00pm at Nike WHQ in Beaverton, Tiger Woods Conference Center for a fast-paced, high energy morning full of inspiration and information.  Registration is now open and includes:

  • Breakfast, Networking & Lunch
  • Inspirational Keynote Speaker, Karen Gaffney
  • Guest Speakers from Inclusion Leaders at Nike & OHSU
  • 2 Professional Development Breakout Sessions & More!

Amplify! Success is a program of Dirkse Counseling and Consulting, Inc.

For more information or to become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2018, contact Amplify! Event Coordinator, Cindy Bahl at: 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com.

Ever Been Unemployed?

By Cindy Bahl

If you are like many of us, you have been unemployed at one time or another.  You might have felt like I did during my 7 months “between jobs”, experiencing a variety of emotions.  The spectrum for me ranged from the excitement of having some “free time” to denial that sounded like, “how could this happen to me?”  Feelings like discouragement, depression and doubt around self-worth were the common enemies of my soul.  Like many of us, my self-esteem, independence and basic existence since the age of 16 has been in my career (since 11 if you count babysitting!).  But for 7 months, I applied to positions for which I was very qualified and that matched my skill set and got very few interviews or opportunities.  I experienced what many job seekers with disabilities experience every day even in this economy of low unemployment.

At the recent Amplify Rock Stars event, our guest speaker, Jeff Akin, Manager of Imaging, Records Management Systems with The State of Oregon asked attendees this very question: “How many of you in this room have ever been unemployed?”  By a show of hands, it seemed that most of us could relate.  He threw down a challenge to the employers in the room and stated, “As employers, we have the golden ticket, we have jobs.”

I challenge you to take 10 minutes out of your work day and listen to the whole story from Jeff.  It will get you thinking about unemployment and what you can do to tap in to the potential of people with disabilities who are often under-utilized. This is a diverse group of motivated people who have the skills and abilities to meet business needs, to contribute to a team and to society in a meaningful and dignified way.  Isn’t that what we all want?

SAVE THE DATE

2nd Annual Amplify Success! Event at Nike WHQ – October 18, 2018!

VIEW the DETAILS

Empower Your Workforce
Affirm Abilities
Amplify Success!