Some colleagues have recognised that they too have gone through times of anguish and mental block when experiencing, first-hand, the barriers that people with disabilities have to overcome every day. “Accessibility is really important. This group's ability to overcome is incredible as well as how much we complain about irrelevant things”, they said. "I didn't expect anything like this. This has awoken all my senses."
Telefónica's I Diversity Day was a reality check and gave us a rush of positive energy. The 200 employees who participated in the blind breakfast, the Chavi Show, the boccia game, the talks given by the Paralympic athletes or the Mario Kart games were impressed. And, most importantly, they were convinced that we can all do something on a day-to-day basis to become a fully accessible company.
In addition to participating in all activities, we were able to listen to incredible stories from people with disabilities from the Spanish Paralympic team, the ONCE Foundation, the Special Olympics and other organisations. Chatting and interacting with them was as enriching as putting ourselves into their shoes.
GOAL: TO BE A MORE ACCESSIBLE COMPANY
We asked them what they thought of our efforts to be more accessible and they responded that we are on the right track and that we should continue to improve our websites (do you know how blind people do their shopping? On the Internet!), call centres, apps, products, television... Always taking into account people with physical, intellectual, visual and auditory disabilities, those who are the most invisible in society. The latter are an essential part, of, for example, Movistar+ 5S, the service for enjoying series and films with sign language, audio description and subtitles. “Environments must adapt to us, not the other way around," they told us.
And they openly told us that accessibility is a business issue. “Today, in a globalised world, no company can afford not to cater to 100% of its customers.”
"If you want to help a blind person, don't grab their cane or their dog's leash. Take them gently by the elbow or hand”
After learning a little about these people's lives, their difficulties, what they have achieved and what they value, we learned -or were reminded- that:
- Whatever difficulty we have doesn’t matter. What is important is our attitude. Manage your handicaps to use them in your favour. And trust the people around you.
- It is more stimulating to work together for a shared goal than to do it alone. Share goals.
- Success can be achieved in a day, but glory requires perseverance, it is a question of culture.
- Life is a party to which we have all been invited. Do what you like every day; remember that you are the master of your destiny. Be happy!
- Listen, understand, put yourself in the other people's shoes, be empathetic.
- Believe in yourself, believe that you can do things you have never imagined and in a different way.
“Use the term ‘deaf person’, instead of only deaf or deaf-mute”
You'll have surely taken away more things from Diversity Day, with other feelings and ideas on how to introduce accessibility in your work at Telefónica. Objective fulfilled, then! Share it and put it into practice because you already know... diversity adds up!