One year ago, 60 “DiverseAbility Champions” from all over the world joined the Group DiverseAbility Awareness Journey with one specific objective in mind: fostering an inclusive workplace that values all employees for their strengths. Disability is one aspect of diversity and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture is beneficial for our people, our customers, and our communities.
When it comes to disability, emphasis is often placed on impairments, and our aim is to create an environment where inclusive practices and accessible workplaces make people with disabilities feel empowered to bring their own abilities, talents and diversity to the table without fear and on an equal basis with their colleagues.
Those who can best break the stereotyped ideas often associated with disability are our people with disabilities or who live with some form of disability in their family or team. That is why we have collected some authentic stories from our colleagues who offer their informed perspective on an aspect that is part of their lives.
Through the real voices of Susanna and Roberto we will learn more about invisible disabilities and the impact they have on their lives. Cecilia and Roberta will share some suggestions on how to approach people who have disabilities respectfully and without fears. Santiago and Cristiano will discuss how experiencing disability in their families has helped them leverage abilities rather than focusing on the disabilities. Finally, Virginie and Paolo will talk about the commitment they have taken in their role as leaders.Creating this new awareness on disability and an even more inclusive workplace means valuing all employees for their strengths. It offers employees with disabilities — whether visible or invisible — an equal opportunity to learn, to be compensated fairly, and to advance. True inclusion is about embracing all differences and being able to value all our people’s diverse abilities.
Disclaimer: When we kicked off the project, we were at the peak of the pandemic, locked in our houses and hardly meeting anyone. However, this did not stop our champions from recording these authentic stories in their own living-rooms with their devices and improvised tools, or with the help of family members. This testifies to an important skill that people with disabilities have become masters of: flexible thought. People with disabilities are used to finding new solutions and ways of thinking because they know that this is the only way to stay relevant and meet the changes – and challenges – ahead. At its heart, disability inclusion is very much about flexibility. It is about removing barriers to unleash everyone’s unique talent. And with more change on the horizon, given the hybrid world we are reimagining, there is a lot we can learn from our colleagues with diverse abilities in terms of innovative ways to succeed and thrive at work.