A Great Job, A Diverse Workplace
It’s a busy Friday night at the Highstreet Cineplex in Abbotsford and Kody Chong is greeting customers and taking their tickets at the podium. He loves working on the floor.
“My favourite part is meeting with customers and talking about movies,” he says.
Kody has been working as a “Cast Member” with Cineplex since October, 2016 and he loves his job. Along with taking tickets and greeting movie-goers, he also helps with cleaning the theatres and bathrooms and doing regular checks. The work environment is very positive.
“My co-workers are really nice. Everyone takes care of one another,” he says. “Cineplex is a very supportive company, they’re understanding and friendly.”
What makes Kody unique in this work environment is that he lives with a disability. He says it sometimes takes him longer to process things, which some might see as a barrier to employment. But Kody didn’t go through his job search and training alone. He was successful because of the Community Living Program (CLP) employment services offered by Communitas. This service provides classes and coaching, giving individuals who live with diverse abilities the skills and experience they need to find meaningful employment. Before he was hired, Kody wasn’t sure if he’d be able to learn all the different parts of the job.
“I had heard that it was very fast-paced but I have completed my training and I’m doing it!”
Paul McCracken and Tamara Seebaran, who oversee CLP employment services, provided support to Kody throughout the employment process.
“Paul helped Kody complete the on-line application form and went to the interview with him,” Tamara says. “We both supported his on-line orientation training and were on-site during his first few shifts to ensure that he understood what was expected of him.”
This kind of support provides both employee and employer with confidence. Kody’s supervisor, Jamie Sabler-French has worked for Cineplex for more than 15 years and has lots of experience overseeing a diverse workforce. She says the company is committed to inclusive hiring and that this company culture is developed by providing specific training to their managers. “Situational Leadership Training” teaches managers to customize their leadership style based on the needs of the individual, whether they be older, younger or have a diverse ability. In Jamie’s experience as a general manager, she’s found that having an inclusive staff has been very positive.
“People with diverse abilities are generally good employees,” she says. “They are eager to work and are dependable employees.”
She has found this to be true of Kody as well, adding that there have been no issues since hiring him.
“Kody is awesome, we love having him here,” she says.
It has definitely been a learning experience for Kody. He’s become more comfortable around people and isn’t nearly as nervous as he was initially. He’s gotten used to the big crowds and knows how to deal with customer complaints in a calm and patient way. He’s also enjoyed the benefits of having a steady income.
“I save my money for holidays and for special events,” he says. “Recently, I took my family to see a Canucks game.”
Kody is also grateful for a positive work experience and highly recommends Cineplex to others who are looking for employment.
“The people at Cineplex are understanding and friendly,” he says. “I can see myself doing this for a very long time.”