One look at Clint, Tawnya and Prya
and you can tell they are not your typical Tim Hortons employees.
You may even think..token hires? Think AGAIN.
They are the unexpected boom to this business’ bottom line. They are proof..there is a HUGE return on
disability. Mark Wafer owns seven Tim Hortons franchises in Toronto. Eighteen years ago he decided to “do” good. And stumbled on a money making secret that was very good for business. MARK: When we first opened our store in 1995 I realized very quickly that my staff was not going to keep up with the dining room. It
was a large store with 65 seats and the dining room. My staff couldn’t keep up. I had a
need. I had to hire somebody That somebody was Clint Sparling. Ready to
start working, like, YESTERDAY. And the thing is, Mark GOT that. Mark himself is hearing impaired. His own disability made him open to hiring someone no one else would. MARK: After about two weeks Clint was ready
to work and very quickly I realized that he had become my best employee. Clint has Down Syndrome. But here, it doesn’t matter. He makes the same money as everyone else. He’s expected to do the same work as
everyone else. BUT he delivers ….. You guessed it…like no one else. CLINT: Tim Hortons is a wonderful place to
hang out. IOANNA (off screen): The boss is listening..you
can’t say you hang out at work. CLINT:It’s a different way of saying I was
born to work. He works so hard, loves his job SO much..he
hardly calls in sick and routinely has to be reminded to go home at the end of his shift. As Mark’s business grew, he hired more people
with disabilities. And with every store and every hire, profits went up. Big time. Forty-one
of Mark’s employees, roughty a third of his work force, has a disability. From managers
to bakers. And they’re not just his top performers. More often than not…. they are his out-performers. MARK: We have one individual who is baking
in one of our busiest stores and she is profoundly deaf and her productivity rate is 18.4 per
cent higher than the person she replaced and that person had been working at that job for
nine years. Tawnya Walsh Takes an obvious pride in raising
that bar. She has autism…and a spotless work ethic that has earned her two promotions
in seven years. TAWNYA: I work very hard and everything, that’s
how hard working I am. Even my coworkers say “Tawnya, you work really hard.” And then there’s Prya Premsukh.She has an
intellectual delay but has no problem keeping up with dirty tables. A bit shy… She finds it easier doing her
job than talking about it. IOANNA: What do you like about it? PRYA: Hmmm. IOANNA: Tough questions huh? PRIYA Yeah. Not so tough to figure out? All three are
loyal productive employees. And the effect is contagious. Not only do Mark’s disabled
employees tend to stick around. So do his others. In an industry where the
turnover rate alone can sink you, Mark is sailing MARK: It can cost me up to four thousand dollars
to replace a front line worker at a Tim Hortons. If my turnover is 40 per cent and my colleague
down the street is 75 per cent and we are doing just as good a job, I’m making more
money. IOANNA: How much is this about charity for
you? MARK: Zero. None. And in New York City,a Canadian man is making
a career out of proving there is no mystery to those numbers.. Rich Donovan coined the phrase “return on
disability”. RICH who has cerebral palsy, is a self-described
financial geek who left behind a successful career on Wall Street.
To crunch very different numbers. And in true entrepreneurial spirit, Rich suggested
we caption his interview because his message is so important he doesn’t want you to miss a word of it. RICH:DONOVAN: This isn’t about charity. I’s
not about a special jobs for special people. There’s real profitability in driving this
forward. RICH is used to sympathy and charitable stares.
But it’s his mission to coach businesses to see past that.
His return on disability is an index he uses to track the shares of firms that best deal
with disabled people. The bottom line? Pity the firms that don’t. IOANNA: How do you change their minds? RICH: Numbers. IOANNA:Numbers? Rich: It all comes down to numbers. It all
comes down to an observable measurement that nobody can dispute. And America’s largest drugstore chain is the
gold standard on how to do it big. And how to do it right. This is Walgreens’ sprawling distribution
centre in Windsor Connecticut. One of 20 the company operates and one of the most profitable in the entire country. (go inside) The secret weapon here too?
Nearly half of the 600 people who work here are disabled. SCOTT SYLVESTER:Right now we’re between 40-45
percent of the people inside the facility at all levels so, director all the way down
have a disability. Scott Sylvester runs the distribution centre.
There’s no “THEM” here. Just a big enthusiastic “US”
A vision born seven years ago from a savvy senior VP who has a child with autism. It’s now a corporate policy. And not because
it’s the right thing to do. SCOTT:It’s obvious to say it’s the right thing
to do from heart, feel-good perspective but it is truly from a business perspective. The
work force we have in the facility, they’re dedicated, they come to work every day they
give 100 per cent everyday they have good attitudes. They thoroughly enjoy the opportunity
to work. The plant was designed to make it easy for
ANYONE to work here….employees can opt to follow icons instead of text….and pictures
are used as markers. And small changes made productivity go up for everyone. SCOTT: So if a person can’t read or sequence
numbers maybe they can relate through a rhinoceros, they’ll know what a rhino is when you give
direction you can say go to station 55 or rhinoceros. And when you’re giving that direction
out to the group, you can say it both ways, and however you… whichever piece of that
message you need to use to process it you take. It’s inclusive and also happens to streamline
the work flow. The payoff? Huge. SCOTT: Our facility is one of top facilities,
the building itself is 20 per cent more efficient than other facilities in our chain. It’s been
great, everything we’ve designed into it has benefited everybody. And THAT is the genius behind the Walgreens
model It’s innovation designed with disability in
mind that made the company big money. MARK: I have 41 employees who have a disability.
In 2011 we did not have a single hour of lost sick time for any of those individuals. Dollars and cents. It’s the winning mantra
and closer to home Mark’s message is catching fire. On this night, he’s in Oakville, Ontario giving
the business community there his remarkable pitch. He is so in demand, he gives more than
100 talks a year across the country. MARK: You can’t make change with this (pats
heart) by talking about the emotional. you can’t make change when you’re talking about
compliance and legislation..we can make change with a business case Doing good because it’s good for business.
Now we’re talking. And Mark insists that businesses simply can’t
afford to miss out on the disability train. MARK: we’re looking for a million workers
short by 2025..and that’s not just skilled labour, we’re talking about entry level positions.
If you don’t do this now, you’re running the the risk of not having staff 10 years from
now. And you know, what’s been good for Mark’s
business has been good for workers like Clint too. Clint…recently married his sweetheart Katie.
they own a condo and live on their own.. with some help from their families. IOANNA:Do you see yourself staying here? Going
somewhere else? CLINT: Actually… There’s no place in the
whole world like Tim Hortons. IOANNA: How much did he pay you to say that? CLINT: Honestly. None whatsoever. You can’t buy that kind of advertising. All
because one businessman spotted an opportunity, and discovered it was the opportunity of a
lifetime. Ioanna Roumeliotis, CBC News. Toronto.