This year, International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD) are celebrating the challenges, barriers and opportunities for people who live with disabilities, in particular during the pandemic. It is important to us at Hastings that our colleagues feel they can contribute, thrive and be who they are at work. We’re proud to celebrate and highlight all our unique experiences and do the right thing for our colleagues.
This IDPWD we hear from colleagues who share their stories about how visible and non-visible disabilities have affected them…
Olivia, HR Shared Services Administrator, Leicester
If someone says I can’t do something, I’ll always find a way
I have a very personal interest in IDPWD and the disability agenda as a whole is something I’m very passionate about. I have a form of cerebral palsy (called hemiplegia) which affects predominantly my left side which means I have the full use of only one arm, I also have issues with my eyesight and a muscle condition amongst other things. In addition, I also have invisible disabilities in the mix but as any of my team will tell you, I try and do anything and everything! During lockdown I started to learn British Sign Language (BSL) and more specifically learning to sign songs - which I must confess I have become a bit addicted to! If someone says I can’t do something, I’ll always find a way - albeit maybe not conventional all the time!
My role is often described as heard but not seen
I work in the HR Shared Services team and have been with the company for just over 4.5 years - not bad as I was hired on a 3 month fixed-term contract! My role has been described by a fellow colleague as being heard but not seen, as my role is in the background supporting colleagues and their leaders with all things HR administration relating to a colleagues’ time at Hastings.
Our #BeWhoYouAre campaign is a great way to raise awareness of disabilities
I love that there are now opportunities to have open and honest discussions around disability and for our colleagues’ experiences to be shared not just with each other, but with the support of senior leaders as well. Hastings’ #BeWhoYouAre campaign is a great way to raise awareness of disabilities and I’m proud to be a part of that. The more we talk and explore these topics, the more we can identify and implement what is possible to help our colleagues with disabilities.
Alec, Graduate Analyst Developer, Bexhill
I was excited to join Hastings’ Inclusion Council in 2019
After graduating from the Open University in 2018, I joined Hastings Direct two years ago on the IT graduate scheme. I was excited to join the Inclusion Council in 2019 and use the opportunity to be directly involved in driving positive change for disabled colleagues.
Hastings is very accommodating when it comes to facilitating changes for disabled colleagues
This can come in all forms but a few that come to mind include, sourcing screen reading software for colleagues with visual impairments, providing dedicated quiet space in our offices and installing lockable disabled toilet facilities so access is restricted to colleagues who truly need them.
It’s through the Inclusion Council that we hope to bring change
Hastings has listened to colleague feedback and has implemented a number of changes over the last 18 months, however it’s through the Inclusion Council that we hope to change this approach from reactive to proactive. One of the current undertakings of the Inclusion Council is to better understand how colleagues request adjustments and how this process can be streamlined. We’re also looking at improvements to ensure new disabled colleagues who join us are given the necessary support and disability relevant information from day one.
Angus Eaton, Chief Risk Officer
Inclusion and diversity is about offering the most we possibly can to everyone for the benefit of colleagues, both individually and as an overall company. There is no doubt that the more diverse and inclusive we are the more successful we will all be. My eyes were opened when a former senior colleague confided in me about how afraid she was to let anyone know about her disability. She shared a glimpse of the challenges and opportunities her disability offered her I realised I had been marching around in my own blinkered world.
Raising awareness is a priority and the International Day of People with Disability is a great example of doing so. As sponsor support of disability and neurodiversity at Hastings I am hoping to bring:
Find out more about Inclusion at Hastings Direct