The wrong system for job inclusion of people with disabilities

I keep sharing anecdotes about the diversity and inclusion trial workshops we conduct at DSE.

Photo of a black Parcheesi meeple next to a group of red ones.

In the previous article I shared with you about this exercise where the participants had the task of putting in order some digital images and reproducing the product through a drawing, with the particularity that during the process, they received a new colleague with a visual disability which they had to include.

During the debrief we began to break down why I was not included in the team dynamic, where that gap was. One participant said: “I asked Pepe, do you have an image? He told me not. Then I asked him: do you have any information about the pictures or about the task? He said no again. It was then that, unconsciously, I left him out, because I said: he has nothing to contribute”.

We talk that both in the company, and also in our private lives, we are guided, unconsciously, by a utilitarian sense; in other words, your value as a person depends on what you contribute. If you make your company earn money and achieve results, you are worth it, otherwise, automatically, you are marginalized.

Some participant mentioned that the utilitarian system of companies is not conducive to the job inclusion of people with disabilities, and I agree.

Although I believe that people with disabilities can achieve a utilitarian status for companies, this process is much longer and much more unfair than the process that a person without disabilities goes through. It's simple: we don't start from the same physical / mental / social conditions.

Is that the only answer? Do we, people with disabilities, do what we can to be useful and economically viable for companies?

If we stay with that answer, we will continue to see the human being as a simple instrument that generates economic profit, mainly for others.

Is that the proposal of the promoters of diversity and job inclusion? Convert people with disabilities into productive instruments of the business system? Or is it also our role to rethink the root business system for the benefit of the inclusion of all?

The effort of many companies to assimilate inclusion and diversity in their cultures is laudable. However, the process is slow, almost painful, like trying to put on a shoe that is too small for you.

At the end of the workshop, we asked the participants to share a hashtag with which they would express their learning from the workshop on social media. One of them was #PeopleOverResults. Nor do I think it is the immediate answer; It is unrealistic to ask companies to set aside results overnight in favor of their people. As always the answer is in a middle way, yes, less focused on utilitarianism.

What changes will be necessary in the business system for inclusion to be assimilated without so many obstacles?

Pepe Macias