Inclusion Paralysis

I participated in an event on disability and inclusion at the premises of a multinational company.

Meeting room with many people listening to a speaker.

“During our sessions, we directly addressed the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workplace, engaging with representatives from this company. A spokesperson articulated a clear objective: to integrate individuals with disabilities into the workforce at this headquarters”.

I posed the question: what is the obstacle?

Her answer was clear and complex at the same time: getting started.

I shared with her a close case of a visually impaired person who was employed by a multinational company in Mexico.

The strategy was simple and also complex: they just did it.

Someone in the group rounded out my idea: first you buy the "problem" and then you solve it.

In the case I described to this person, there were many things in the company that were not ready: there were no tactile strips or braille signage, the company's systems and files were not tested for accessibility with screen readers, the job profile was not designed for an employee with visual disability either... and the list could go on. But back to the point: they just did it.

During the session, the words "training" and "awareness-raising" came up frequently in the words of the representatives of the company that hosted us.

I reflected: training and raising awareness on the issue of disability inclusion, when today your obstacle is to start, is like training, reading and learning about what it is like to run a marathon but never daring to run it.

There is a paralysis of disability inclusion in many companies.

I concluded the session by saying: inclusion is not perfect and never will be, but it has to be there.

Companies train their employees to plan, calculate, have the best possible performance, minimize risks, prepare processes, etc.

And while I don't deny that this can help disability inclusion in the workplace, I also know that if we wait for a company to be ready, for many of us inclusion will come when we are in the ground.

I've said it before and I stand by it: disability and the business world are oil and water. But of course we can mix. The key is to do it, just do it and figure it out as we go along.

Is it an easy thing for companies to do? Not at all. It's NOT in their DNA.

Do they want to do it? Only they have the answer.