Hospitality Business Magazine

Wellington business wins top award

rsz_olivier_lacoua_accepts_acc_employer_award_lowCQ Hotels Wellington is proof that inclusion and diversity in the workplace are a winning formula. Olivier Lacoua, General Manager of CQ Hotels Wellington, last night accepted the Attitude ACC Employer Award at the 2015 Attitude Awards.

The national awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis living with a disability and those that support them. This year’s winners (subs note: full list of winners below) were announced at a black tie gala held at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre on December 3 – the UN sanctioned ‘International Day of People with Disability’.

Chief Executive of ACC Scott Pickering says the Attitude Awards shine a light on New Zealand’s unsung heroes. “The Attitude ACC Employer Award is important because it reminds us that we all benefit when we look at what we can do, rather then what we can’t. Sharing the winner’s experiences inspires us all as employers to learn and ensure we live in an inclusive society.”

CQ’s drive to employ and support people with disabilities began about three years ago. Olivier Lacuoa got in touch with Workbridge (an employment agency for people with disabilities) looking to employ staff for CQ’s two hotels – Comfort Hotel and Quality Hotel – in Wellington.CQ now employs five staff members who have various disabilities. Two deaf staff members were hired especially to assist with the launch of CQ’s New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) menu and have stayed on in permanent positions.

CQ was the first hotel group in New Zealand to train its employees in NZSL. Employees continue to receive sign language training through Deaf Aotearoa programmes and CQ senior managers regularly attend disability awareness workshops.

Olivier and his team are also striving to lift the standard around accessibility for staff and customers and to create a best practice approach for the hospitality industry.

CQ Hotels Wellington is a hospitality business that is committed to including people with disabilities and at last night’s Awards Olivier called on more business owners and managers to do the same.

Chair of the Attitude Trust, Dan Buckingham says the Awards are about celebrating outstanding achievements across what is a broad and diverse sector of society. “Last night we celebrated winners across eight different categories, with awards for art, community and sporting achievements. It was such a difficult process to determine the winners as all of the 24 finalists were absolutely fantastic in their own right. It is a privilege to be able to tell their stories and celebrate their success,” says Buckingham.