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With the beginning of the new year, it is vital that we include safety and inclusion discussions at work. Here’s how we can do it.
Time flies and curtains are drawn for 2020 as the new year unfolds the hope to live a better life for people across all geographies. It’s time to retrospect our thoughts and actions and step-up for a brighter future.
Many industries, businesses, institutions have faced the wrath of COVID-19. The IT sector, where a majority of the world’s population thrives doing their regular jobs, anticipated to be worst hit. However, it is amazing how this sector has quickly adapted, strategised its workforce to new normal and worked from home completely.
Is it appropriate to say, ‘When COVID struck, we were temporarily disabled’? No, for sure. We worked on new strategies, devised new ways of continuing business and make our workforce and customers feel safe and secure.
Lockdown did not lock down our business, did not dump our customers, did not fire our employees. We found a way out to come out of the situation and make things happen. Similarly, calling someone ‘Disabled’ may not be the right word.
As a Global Learning Design Specialist, I am a part of the culture where ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ (DI) and not Disability and Inclusion, is embraced and implemented to the core. We strive to place people first. People who come from every background, experience and perspective. We try to understand how to better serve customers and the communities where we operate.
But, before I begin to share my views, I would like to share a thought on why I chose this topic and why it caught my eye. When I skimmed through the list, I noticed the word ‘Disability’, which immediately caught my attention. Why can’t we put it as ‘Differently-abled’?
No human is 100 percent abled at all times. We are all influenced by internal conflicts, external behaviours and circumstances. This definitely impacts the way we think and react or respond. Being differently-abled is challenging, especially, when the workforce and the customers are located in different parts of the globe. We need to strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for our coworkers who are across the globe, each with their own experience and perspective.
What I value the most is how as learning and development professionals, we can ensure everyone is feeling safe and secured. Here’s a first small step. During meetings, talk about safety and inclusion moments. This could be ‘how you sit while your work’, ‘your body posture’, ‘the light in your room’, ‘the time away from the computer’ or ‘exercising,’ etc.
Different members can share their experiences on what inclusion means to them and how it impacts their lives and those with whom they interact. This is a safety message to ensure and comfort everyone that we are all in this and we will be able to come out of it.
Let’s talk about inclusion. What does inclusion mean to you, to your friend or your boss or colleague? And when we combine Disability inclusion, what is the first thought that comes to your mind?
I can imagine, what’s running in your mind right now. This is a question for us to introspect on what we think. Here’s the next step we could do to make inclusion a part of our design strategy.
Our learning material is developed in English. However, we wanted this to be accessed and easily understood by our coworkers in the language they understand. We wanted our learners to understand and access all the content or data they need to know to perform their jobs seamlessly.
Thanks to Google translator, it’s just a click away. This said, we also need to be sensitive about our data privacy policies. Rest assured, we all figure a way out of what works and what not and how we can make things work.
Diversity and Inclusion are key for organisations with a multilingual workforce. Let’s focus on helping individual thrive and instead of focusing on ‘Disability.’
Foster an environment where every one of us feels comfortable asking for more accomodating circumstances, no matter what our culture, language or abilities are!
Picture credits: Image by GPoint Studio via Canva
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