Raise awareness for the full inclusion of people with disabilities

What did you want to achieve? 

At Telefónica, we would like to promote awareness by reinforcing internal communication as the key to generating commitment and emotional engagement with diversity. We want to convey Telefónica’s commitment to promoting an inclusive work environment, in which people with disabilities feel fully included at work. We want to raise awareness about the value contribution of Talent with Disabilities and reduce unconscious biases and assumptions. Finally, we would like to normalise the interaction of all the people, who work at Telefónica. 

What did you do?

  • Information: Talking about the value that people with disabilities bring to the company and the advantages and support we offer to employees with a disability certificate. Our purpose is to improve knowledge of multiple realities, focus on the capacities and give practical advice to people who live/ co-exist or work with people with disabilities.  
  • Training: The main goal is to foster empathy, eliminate biases and prejudices, and drive inclusive behaviours. 
  • Training for all employees in which we emphasise abilities and not disabilities. To break down personal barriers, fears or labels that all of us have and to hear testimonials from colleagues with disabilities, who already work at Telefónica. 
  • Exclusive training for leaders, since they play a key role in inclusion and they should know how to manage their teams normally and comfortably and to reduce barriers and biases against future incorporations. 
  • Accompany and Counseling: Each area that hires people with disabilities requires specific information and awareness, depending on the type of disability and adaptations that may be needed. So, we either provide training to reduce barriers and unconcious biases or we share guidelines. In some cases, we have also connected each manager with specialised entities (i.e. to work with people with hearing disabilities, or autism spectrum disorders).  

This is a project that requires a lot of customisation and support. 

What are the results so far?

There has been an important increase in the number of sectors, where people with disabilities now work at our company. In addition, there are more and more people, who feel comfortable to report their disabilities to the organisation. Furthermore, there is a high commitment from the employees, who massively participate in each of the training actions. 

We have also seen significant involvement from other interest groups, such as the group of internal Telefónica teachers (more than 400 people who are agents and promoters of change), who deal with learning, to build training and accessible content. 

What have you learned? 

We have demonstrated that there is a great spirit of integration at Telefónica. We are a company that welcomes people who want to incorporate diverse talents. We have also learned that any cultural change requires time and that many different impacts can generate real changes in organisations. This starts with awareness! As a company though, we still have a long way to go to be a fully disabilities-friendly working environment. We need to improve accessibility and to generate accessible content with adapted tools and materials. This effort will also yield a better understanding of our customers with disabilities.