8 true stories to inspire your inclusion program
On the Day of People with Disabilities, we at Resultados Digitais decided to bring stories from these people and their managers
Have you ever worked with a person with a disability? Or have you ever lived with someone with a disability in your family and school? If so, you know how constructive this relationship is. If not, Blue World City will give you a reason to want to do this.
On the Day of People with Disabilities, we at Resultados Digitais decided to bring stories from these people and their managers. Let’s tell what these pairs learned working together and, mainly, what barriers are present in this relationship.
Working with inclusion is indeed difficult, and you’ll read it in every story. However, ways around difficulties are extremely rewarding.
Well for the stories, then?
It was early 2017 when Vinícius gave his first lecture on people with disabilities at Resultados Digitais. Little did he know that this would be his place of work for years to come? The reason for the invitation was the launch of RD Sum, the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion program.
Vini made so much noise with his talk that the invitation to join the Diversity and Inclusion team came right away. Flávia Kotzias, creator of the program and current leader in the area in RD, says that the presence of a person with a disability in the development of inclusion programs for this audience is essential due to their place of speech.
None of us without us . This is one of the essential values of RD Sum, experiencing and building solutions together with people with disabilities to make the work environment increasingly inclusive. According to Vini, from the beginning, the RDoers were very receptive to learning more about disabilities and willing to build together an increasingly inclusive culture in the organization. But there were barriers in the way.
“The lack of information was the first of them”, says Vini. For this reason, one of the great efforts of the program was to bring the realities of people with disabilities closer to the organization, so that internal relations could become more and more organic. And the changes were noticeable.
“The work environment at RD is increasingly inclusive, but we still have the challenge of attitudinal barriers, of breaking down stereotypes and prejudices and showing the value of RD Sum’s work”, he says. Gradually, the barriers are being broken down by the joint action of Vini with the RD team.
The speaking place
Flávia Kotzias, Diversity & Inclusion
“In RD, the inclusive culture started with the founders, so it was not necessary to make a major cultural shift, common in more traditional companies”, says Flávia Kotzias, creator of RD Sum. For her, this was one of the biggest differentials for the implementation of the program at the company, which flowed naturally with the support of senior management.
Flávia began her trajectory with diversity still within the psychology faculty of UFSC, where she worked with the insertion of people with disabilities in the labor market and with gender studies. She says that the essential part of working with diversity and inclusion is being open to new solutions, even if it is to challenge her beliefs.
The creation of exclusive vacancies for people with disabilities was one of them. For both her and Vini, at first it made more sense to create vacancies for all candidates than exclusive ones, but then they realized they were creating a barrier. Many people with disabilities did not apply due to disbelief of a fair application in relation to people without disabilities.
The path found by the pair was the creation of exclusive vacancies for PCD, in order to provide appropriate opportunities for different contexts experienced by each person.
Be open to coexistence and interaction with diversity. This is one of the great lessons that Vini and Flávia have been sharing with the RD team.
Samuel is an adventurer. He enjoys running and exploring other perspectives on life. At the end of 2017, when he had already lost almost all vision in both eyes, he decided to make a backpack to rediscover himself along the coast of Santa Catarina. Between rides and beaches, Samuel reports that conversations with homeless people were essential to realize that there were other ways of seeing life. Florida was the final destination of this journey of rediscovery.
The change took place in August of this year. Samuel participated in the selection process for a vacancy at RD Sum and joined the events team, already organizing the RD Summit.
“A human eye in hiring”, this is the great differential that Samuel highlights from RD. As soon as he arrived, he was welcomed by open minds to receive the disability. In this way, he describes the events team and highlights that his manager, Denis Braguini, head of Events at RD, “was the big culprit for everything working out, he bought the idea, it made a total difference in my process.”
Accessible content is critical for inclusion. From applying for the job to using RD Station, Samuel says that he did not face difficulties in navigating RD’s platforms and accessing digital content through the screen reader.
There are still some barriers to accessing information, such as the use of Google Drive spreadsheets, which, according to Samuel, “looks like a naval battleground” because you have to wonder how the information is organized in the spreadsheets. However, he emphasizes that he does not consider it a limiting factor for his daily life.
“This is my reality and I will accept it”. This is the thought that guides Samuel.
Search for autonomy
Denis Braguini Bevacqua, Events
RD’s events team is made up of problem solvers and, in the view of Denis, head of the area, Samuel’s presence is essential to bring the perspective of someone who faces daily challenges in a country with limited accessibility.
This is Denis’ first opportunity to be a manager of a person with a disability. He says that he expressed this interest in the Talent Management area and in August this year Samuel joined the team with his contagious energy.
“Inclusion in the team was very natural, people were very excited to receive him”, he says. There was an initial preparation by the team to bring more information about visual impairment in the search for a more inclusive environment. When Samuel arrived, he was received by a professional who helped him with the reading of the company’s environment in order to allow him to better travel.
Difficulties arose. Denis reports that, in the beginning, it was necessary to make several technical adjustments that he did not imagine, such as adapting the use of the MacBook so that Samuel could have a fluid working dynamic.
Work dynamics based on equitable and autonomous treatment. That’s how Denis built his professional relationship with Samuel, and the two made an agreement from the beginning: “I didn’t want Samuel working only on projects for people with disabilities. Today she works with several projects”, he concludes.
Luciane was one of the first people with disabilities to enter DR, being the first with autism. The challenge of joining a new company, meeting new people, was difficult in itself, but she still entered a new role in her career. A lot of anxiety, isn’t it? That’s not how she assesses it! “From the beginning, it was amazing to see people prepared to receive me. They accepted me, you know? All my life people criticized me when I did something different, I did things my way. Here it was different”, he says.
Luciane understands that her difficulties are real: noisy environments, with a lot of people, take her away from her axis, “disorganize her”. Too many goals make her anxious, wanting to reach the planned goal, and end up wearing her out too much. What she wasn’t used to is other people understanding these difficulties. “I have difficulty communicating my problems, I think I can overcome them, but it is often very difficult. Whenever I said I was bad, I needed help, people listened to me!” he says.
It doesn’t mean that all inclusion of a person with autism is easy. On the contrary: it required a lot of dedication and brought many adverse situations. Changes in job positions, adapting work demands, opening hours and building relationships with colleagues — the latter being the most challenging — were some of the barriers that emerged. “I had to understand my limits, how far I could go at work, in environments. I had a lot of overload, I even had more serious symptoms, and that’s when I started to pay more attention to it.”
Self-knowledge is the word that defines this trajectory, however, for Luciane, the word that defines a good inclusion program is listening. Being listened to, seeing things change when she pointed out a problem, was what made the most difference to her. “Everything was new, both for the company and for me, we were discovering the problems together”, she reports, bringing along the tip of “never impose things on people with autism, always listen to them first, and develop strategies together”. More than all that, the idea that makes Luciana’s story come true is belonging.
Empathy and otherness
Michelly Fogaça, RD University
Including a person with a disability in a company does not only require goodwill, engaged people and heart. In most cases, it is the planning and structuring of actions that make the difference. This is what Michelly takes as a great lesson from leading Luciane: “we thought a lot during Luciane’s selection process, we wanted to do the right thing, put her in a welcoming environment. For this to happen, first we needed to grow internally”, he says.
In his opinion, leadership needs to be done for people, aiming at development. However, in this case, leading involved many new elements, so it was necessary to learn before anything else. “I became an autism specialist, researched a lot and learned even more. The experience with Lu was something fantastic, I grew immensely as a manager and, mainly, as a person”, she says.
Development is mutual when we talk about inclusion, because construction is collective and continuous. Likewise, no matter how hard we study, being with the person will always be amazing.
“We prepare to know the theory, but the person is not a theory. It is essential to understand the person’s pain, what is individual to him.” In her work, Michelly understood the real inclusion, which is not done at the person’s entrance, but which is present at all times.
The lesson she would give to anyone who wants to work with inclusion is to understand that accessibility is not a privilege, it is just an equalization of opportunities. And, in Luciane’s case, being accessible was being empathetic, having a working and emotional structure. Be a manager and be a friend too. “It’s more than empathy because we will never be in the other’s shoes… It’s otherness, it’s recognizing the pain of others, but also understanding that we are all part of the same environment, with our differences, and that there are no problems with that”, concludes.
Communication is the root
Jomar Oliveira, Customer Success
“My process was very long, almost six months. This affects the person’s anxiety, doesn’t it?” is how Jomar starts his story. His hearing impairment essentially seems to be a barrier to doing the job he wanted, the client’s success. There are many connections, communication is a fundamental element, but the speech therapy report — and persistence — gave him the vacancy of CSM in the second attempt.
Surprisingly, it’s not the auditory part that poses the biggest barrier for Jomar in his work. “I’m very used to seeing facial expressions, gestures, all of a person’s non-verbal communication, it helps to understand what the person means,” he says. He remembers that he never had to speak to a client who had a disability. In fact, your communication during calls is always smooth.
If he doesn’t understand what the person is saying, he asks to repeat it, and if he realizes that noises and noises can get in the way, he goes ahead, and warns him from the beginning that he can ask the person to repeat. “Some colleagues even have difficulties, from time to time, in hearing the person on the other side of the call, due to noises, unstable connection and several other things. I think that even because I am already used to these situations on a daily basis, I go ahead and try to prevent it”, he says.
It is on these two bases, communication and anticipation, that Jomar believes it is possible to work out a good inclusion program. Always willing to educate his friends, teach their peculiarities — such as the need to put the devices on after a call, since he takes them off to use the phone — he sees the freedom to be able to say the things that bother him as an important tool.
However, this environment was built with preparation on the side of the company, of trying to break down barriers before they even appear. “RD was very welcoming to me, they gave me the flexibility of being alone in a room to make calls, they worried about the phone I was going to use, they empowered people to understand my needs”, he says.
Paying attention is essential
Nicolas Beschoren, Customer Success
As a manager, Nicolas takes a human approach. He knows each of his followers, their tastes, quirks, demands and fears. That’s how he believes the job should be done, and even without knowing it he has always nurtured inclusion in his team. However, he admits, without eagerness, that he had his concerns with the entry of Jomar.
“When we started the process, I was worried about whether he would be able to carry out the job without feeling harmed. Not so much for him, but for the conditions that we would be able to give him”, he says. The speech therapist’s report reassured him and from then on “the process went very well. To be quite honest, I don’t feel any difference in my daily life with Jô”.
It is with affectionate nicknames and attentive listening that Nicolas built an increasingly inclusive environment in his team. Communication, as for Jomar, is the central element of his style. He talks a lot with his followers, he wants to know about work, goals, but also about life, joys and sorrows. “Inclusion is for all people, all differences”, he says.
In his opinion, a manager needs, before anything else, to understand how far a person’s disability extends. What limits this person at work, what empowers them? How does she like to work? But regardless of how he prepares, leading is dealing with the unforeseen. “I felt insecure because it’s impossible to put myself in his shoes, I had to ask how things were going and hope he was comfortable to talk about possible problems,” he says.
If he can leave a tip for future leaders of people with disabilities, it is: “Talk to your team member always. Build with him an environment of trust, for the person to bring their difficulties without fear. The work of inclusion is the responsibility of the leader and his team”.
On the Day of People with Disabilities, we at Resultados Digitais decided to bring stories from these people and their managers Have you ever worked with a person with a disability? Or have you ever lived with someone with a disability in your family and school? If so, you know how constructive this relationship is. If not, Blue…