Inclusion at thyssenkrupp: Focus on diversity
Only talking about inclusion? Not at thyssenkrupp! We live inclusion. For us it is clear: all people are equally welcome. Because we believe in the uniqueness of every person and value individual abilities, experiences and backgrounds. Inclusion has many dimensions, as it encompasses different aspects of physical, mental, cognitive and sensory impairment. Some visible, but most not. What drives us is simple: we create an inclusive work environment for our employees where diversity is lived. By breaking down barriers instead of building them. #GENERATIONTK stands for diversity. And thus also for inclusion.
Inclusion at thyssenkrupp
But what is inclusion in the first place? Integration and inclusion are often used synonymously in the discussion about this topic. Yet the two terms are fundamentally different. Integration aims to integrate people with impairments into existing structures. This often requires adaptation on the part of those affected. Inclusion, on the other hand, aims to create societies and communities in which diversity is truly lived and barriers are overcome. Inclusion is not only about participation, but also about the full acceptance and inclusion of each and every individual, regardless of differences. It is about valuing and using individual strengths and abilities to create a diverse and enriching community. Inclusion thus aims at the equal participation and belonging of all people in social life. No one should be excluded from a self-determined life because of a disability.
We at thyssenkrupp have clearly set ourselves this goal. And we additionally underline our orientation with a joint declaration launched in 2015 – on the inclusion and promotion of people with disabilities: "thyssenkrupp regards inclusion in the world of work, i.e. the self-determined and equal participation of people with disabilities in working life, as a special corporate obligation." We see this as our responsibility and promote a working environment in which "being different" is not seen as an obstacle but as an opportunity. This also includes looking less at what is not possible and more at what can be made possible. Our goal is to enable people with disabilities to find their way into working life and to include them as best as possible in existing work processes.
Equality in the application process
We are also committed to equality in the application process. For us, the motivation, competence and mentality of people are in the foreground. In close cooperation with various offices, agencies and departments, we address the needs of applicants and actively seek individual solutions. One of Materials Services' commitments is aimed specifically at severely disabled young people. Together with the Federal Employment Agency, we enable them to start a career.
Support in everyday work
But we also support our employees in their everyday work wherever we can. This ranges from special lifting aids at the workplace to very individual solutions. Our elected representatives for severely disabled employees at the respective locations actively support all severely disabled employees and those at risk of becoming severely disabled – this applies to current employees, but also to those who are still looking for their way to thyssenkrupp and (back) into working life.
In addition, some of our colleagues work, for example, in an internal workshop of thyssenkrupp Steel in Duisburg. This is where employees are employed who can no longer return to their original jobs, for example for health reasons. They find their place in the workshop and continue to make a valuable contribution. The colleagues do sewing, engraving, welding or filming work for the companies, but their tasks also include carpentry or gardening.
Inclusion has many faces
Around 100,000 employees work at thyssenkrupp worldwide in a wide variety of constellations – each with their own story, some with visible impairments, but mostly with non-visible impairments. Some are employed in internal workshops such as Duisburg, others have found a workplace within the company that has been adapted to their needs. Here we introduce four colleagues who work with a disability at thyssenkrupp and experience inclusion on a daily basis.
Overcoming language barriers together
Petra Pannenbäcker is deaf and has worked at thyssenkrupp Steel for several decades. She is a trained technical draughtswoman and has already worked in various professions. Now she works in the internal workshop in Duisburg. There she mainly sews barbecue aprons and cosmetic bags for august&alfred – a sustainable fashion brand from thyssenkrupp and Grubenhelden, which processes discarded smelter coats, for example. Sewing is one of Petra's favourite tasks. Communicating with her colleagues is no problem for her! While some of her colleagues even learn sign language so that they can talk to Petra, she herself uses a writing pad to communicate with the others in an emergency.
Back to work
Sebastian Olbinski seriously injures his head in 2019. The diagnosis: craniocerebral trauma with bleeding in the brain. During multiple, lengthy rehabilitation stays, he had to relearn many basic movements. However, epilepsy and physical and cognitive impairments remain as long-term consequences. Giving up? Out of the question for Sebastian! He fights his way back into (working) life. But he was not allowed to return to his original employer, one of our partner companies. As a result, thyssenkrupp 2021 creates a permanent position for him in the incoming goods department at Dynamic Components in Ilsenburg. Sebastian has to follow a special break management at work to prevent epileptic seizures. In addition, LED lamps were used at his workplace and a height-adjustable desk was provided. Sebastian and his colleagues support each other in everyday life: while they remind him of his breaks from time to time, he shows them techniques he has learned to reduce stress.
New profession - new perspectives
At the age of 12, Frank Waltersdorf lost an eye. Since then he has worn a glass eye. Spatial vision is no longer possible for him. The trained machinist has been working at thyssenkrupp since 1980. Over time, however, his job became too dangerous for him. He moves to the internal workshop in Duisburg. Here Frank works as a process coordinator in the Halle-Metall area. What does he particularly like about his job? Accompanying his colleagues from the workshop and seeing how they progress.
Overcoming hurdles with tools
Working in the office with four per cent vision? Esra Temel shows that it is possible. She became aware of thyssenkrupp through an internship. She likes it so much that she switches from her training position at Diakonie to thyssenkrupp MillServices & Systems in Oberhausen. With success! Esra first starts a rehabilitation training programme as an office management assistant. Due to her performance, she is subsequently taken on and now has a permanent contract. With the help of a special reading programme, she can enlarge fonts and have texts read to her. And if she gets stuck? Then Esra's thyssenkrupp colleagues are there to help her.
These are just four of several individual stories at thyssenkrupp. This is how we promote diversity together, break down barriers and live inclusion. Every day. Because diversity is #GENERATIONTK.