Embracing Diversity and Fostering Inclusion

22 July 2020

HR

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At GO, we constantly strive to create and foster diversity, making room for learning opportunities as we continuously work together towards a more inclusive experience. This time round, we chose to honour the Deaf and Blind communities. In doing so, we wanted to extend a helping hand and support both the Deaf and the Blind societies in Malta, with the ultimate aim of raising awareness and exposure of these communities.

Advocating for deaf & blind in the workplace

We believe that deaf or blind individuals should not be defined by their impairment. Just like any other individual, they too have a lot to offer to society and the workplace, and through the use of technology as well as an increase of awareness amongst other colleagues, they are able to implement certain strategies that allow them to work around the hurdles and challenges posed by their hearing or vision impairments.

The essence of our message is to depict that not only do people who are deaf or blind thrive in the workplace, they make their workplaces thrive too. Organisations with employees who are deaf or blind experience an increase in productivity, a boost in company morale, and are nearly twice as likely to be innovative.

In this spirit, as part of our GO Cares initiatives, we wanted to shine a spot-light on two remarkable individuals and GO team members, Josianne and Jurgen, to learn more about their everyday experiences and how they not only overcome obstacles, but how they thrive in the workplace.

Josianne, who is an employee with vision impairment, started off her career with GO back in 1987, when it was still known as Telemalta, which means that she has worked with the company throughout all the changes and developments that made GO what it is today.

Currently, Josianne is working as a Service Quality Officer in our Commercial team, whereby she listens in to calls being made by our Customer Care Reps, in order to give feedback that enables the team to improve further the quality of their delivery among other responsibilities. Josianne main interests include travelling, cooking and knitting, along with many other hobbies!

How would you describe your experience working with GO?

“This has been the only work I’ve known, and I’m honestly happy where I am. As an employee at GO, I don’t feel like just a number – I feel listened to, and I feel that my wellbeing has always been a priority for the organisation. I like all aspects of my job, especially because of its variety. My day can include; handling escalation cases, ensuring quality assurance by listening-in on customer care calls, and also conducting phone interviews. I also enjoy experimenting with new things and testing levels of accessibility. My team and I are very close; even during the remote working period, we kept in touch every day, and we really do enjoy working together.”

How would you best describe yourself, and what are your main interests?

“I am quite independent and I love my work, my colleagues and enjoy learning new things even about topics that are not related to my work, such as medicine.”

How has COVID-19 affect your daily life?

“COVID-19 has definitely had its impact on my daily life. Although in the beginning it was challenging, mainly because I had to adjust to a new office set up, working from home wasn’t the problem for me. The real challenges were in my personal life; it was much harder going to the supermarket or running errands, as I couldn’t keep ‘safe distance’ since I couldn’t see other people, and I found myself asking for help more often than I would have liked to.”

What message would you like to get across regarding your impairment?

“People need to know that just because I can’t see, it doesn’t mean I can’t do.  It may take me some time to adjust to a new place and to get familiar with my bearings, however I can do everything. A tip I would like to give to others is that: it is important to ask before taking the hand of a blind person to help. It is a very kind gesture, but always check if the person requires assistance before touching them.”

Jurgen, who is hard of hearing, has been part of the GO team for over 15 years, and is currently working with the Finance & Credit Control team carrying out data entry and clerical duties. He enjoys learning about new technologies and spending his free time experimenting in IT.

Jurgen is actually playing a very important role in raising awareness and educating those around him, particularly through his teachings that sign language is not a one-size-fits-all.

In fact, he has recently taken on the challenge of teaching his personalised sign language to some colleagues, including the HR team, so that we can continue to break down the communication barriers that exist between the hearing and deaf communities.

How would you describe your experience working with GO?

“I am very proud to be working with GO. I enjoy coming to work and spending time with my teammates. I get along very well with everyone, although sometimes it’s a bit challenging to interact and communicate.”

How would you best describe yourself, and what are your main interests?

“I have always loved technology. In fact, from the age of 11, I started showing interest in the I.T. field by attending a computer course together with my mother. Today, I.T. is still my passion and I enjoy exploring this field, and as much as possible, I always try to have the latest tech at home.”

How has COVID-19 affect your daily life?

“Like many others, COVID-19 has had a major effect on my daily life. By staying home all day, I was missing the everyday social interactions with my workmates, diminishing my already small amount of daily interactions and socialization.”

What message would you like to get across regarding your impairment?

“What I wish for people to know is that just because I am deaf, it does not mean that you can’t interact with me. It is a daily challenge to communicate and interact with people, and due to my lack of hearing, there are times when I feel less involved in both the working environment as well as the social aspect – I would like to be more involved.”

GO’s efforts in embracing diversity & fostering inclusion

As part of our GO Cares initiatives, through the help of employees’ donations and fund-raising activities held throughout the year, we decided to help out both The Malta Society of the Blind, where we have donated various gadgets worth €500 that are used by people who are visually-impaired (such as talking wrist watches and fully-talking mobile phone), and also The Malta Deaf People Association, where we donated another €500 to help them support their members through their work.

Furthermore, in an effort to continue to embrace our diversity and foster inclusion at the workplace, a sign language session was also organised for our people in collaboration with the Malta Deaf People Association. This was done to raise more awareness and encourage more effective communication with the Deaf community.

Such efforts definitely help to bring us closer to one another, and in doing so, it creates a sense of unity that proves just how much our diversity makes us unique. Let us all come together and play an important role in giving deaf and blind individuals the tools to live, work and thrive in the communities of their choice, whilst remembering that of all the obstacles that people who are deaf or blind need to overcome, misconceptions don’t have to be one of them. After all, we’re all in this together!

Written by GO Cares Team

Have a look at our careers page and get in touch with us if you want to take your career to the next step!  For GO products and services, visit our official website or get in touch with our experts online or by visiting any of our GO outlets.