IRB’s program for inclusion of people with disabilities is 20 years now and overcomes obstacles

Publicado em: 24/09/2020

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Overcoming prejudice and offering equal opportunities to everyone are some of the premises of Act 8,213/91, which provides for Brazilian companies hiring a minimum percentage of people with hearing disabilities. However, to assure such inclusion, deaf professionals many times need to overcome another obstacle: people that were born deaf, or who lost hearing at early childhood are taught in Libras – Brazilian Sign Language – and not always master Portuguese.

In the week of the National Day of Fight for People with Disabilities (September 21) and the National Day of Deaf People, celebrated on Saturday (September 26), the program for inclusion of people with disabilities (PWDs) of IRB Brasil RE highlights the overcoming of this obstacle, and professional integration. Almost 20 years from its start, the initiative changed not only the communication process in the company, but also the way other employees and managers evaluate PWDs.

IRB Brasil RE’s People officer, Fernanda Grossklags, tells the story, going back in time: “When we started this journey, our challenge was valuing, motivating and integrating the ones in the program. On the one hand, many of them worked basically in file and did not know the company’s systems, having a dead routine with low productivity. On the other hand, managers and other employees were biased on PWDs only working in operational and low-responsibility activities.”

To change this reality, all the professionals with disabilities have their performances periodically evaluated. “In addition to motivating PWDs and giving a new meaning to their activities, we asked managers to analyze the performance of each one of them as they do to any other professional. It was a chance for turning tables”, adds Fernanda, saying that, from this point, the company invested in qualification, and PWDs were trained on the management systems, leaving bureaucratic work and showing their skills in other positions.

At first, in order to make daily communication and integration easier, the company used Libras interpreters, responsible for informing the activities to deaf employees and transmitting their messages to the respective managers. “At the beginning it helped, but showed dependency and the need for developing their communication skills”, highlights IRB Brasil RE’s People Attraction and Development manager, Gisele Damato.

The company, then, started to offer Portuguese classes for such employees and limited the work of Libras interpreters only to some meetings, leading to greater autonomy. On the other hand, a course on Libras has also started to be offered periodically at IRB. “This simple change was the key for overcoming obstacles, reinforcing commitment and assuring integration”, comments Gisele.

Fernanda adds the transformation led by such actions is far beyond integration. “One of the most significant points of inclusion and result of the program was the evolution of the professionals, who accumulate promotions and work in strategic areas for the company, such as subscription”, celebrates IRB Brasil RE’s People officer.

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