Let's not just talk about inclusion - let's live inclusion!
Diversity and inclusion are important and lived values at thyssenkrupp. But people with disabilities still experience discrimination in their working lives and everyday life. The European Protest Day for Equality of People With Disabilities on May 5, 2023 calls to support people with disabilities to stand up for their rights. The topic is also important at thyssenkrupp.
Openness, equal opportunities and mutual respect are core values of our corporate culture. All our colleagues should be able to develop freely and to their full potential. And they should be able to do so regardless of their origin, gender, skin color, age, sexual orientation and identity, disability or other characteristics.
Yet the inclusion of people with a handicap is still not taken for granted in many areas of our lives. "You can't draw enough attention to the concerns of people with disabilities," emphasizes Anja Broekhuizen, quality management representative at thyssenkrupp Uhde Engineering Services and, since March 1, 2023, also chairwoman of the thyssenkrupp AG Group Representative Council for Severely Disabled Employees (KSBV). "That's why action days like the European Day of Protest for Equality for People with Disabilities are important to draw attention to deficits in equal participation in working life."
Support people with disabilities to stand up for their rights!
For more than 30 years, the European Day of Protest for the Equality of People with Disabilities has been held on May 5: The protest day is a call to all citizens to become active and support handicapped people to stand up for their rights. Because people with disabilities still experience disadvantages in their everyday lives.
For decades thyssenkrupp has taken social responsibility and consistently supported inclusion. It is people like Anja Broekhuizen who put all their efforts into making it easier for people with disabilities to start working at thyssenkrupp.
Anja has been with the company since 2011 and was elected to the Representative Council for Severely Disabled Employees in 2014. A very challenging task: "Due to the different activities - in quality management, in the Representative Council for Severely Disabled Employees (SBV) at thyssenkrupp Uhde Engineering Services and in the Group Representative Council for Severely Disabled Employees - my typical working day cannot always be planned. My aim is to do justice to all activities. That's often challenging, but also very exciting and educating." As a person affected herself, Anja's involvement in SBV is also a matter of the heart: "You have to be open to the topic and treat people the way you would like to be treated. For me, all people are equal!"
Together with her specially trained colleagues from the Representative Council for Severely Disabled Employees, Anja provides advice and assistance to employees with disabilities. She also supports her employer with administrative work such as applying for funds.
"The local SBVs usually have a different perspective on the topic of inclusion and thus have ideas for implementation that may not always be considered," says Anja. This includes, for example, individual workplace layouts and the optimization of work processes in collaboration with the specialist departments in order to make the best possible use of employees' individual abilities.
Inclusion as an opportunity for companies
At thyssenkrupp, we have learned that people with disabilities enrich our company sites with their individual skills and often exceptionally high motivation. "It has been proven that employees with disabilities are often more willing to perform and that they are misjudged," Anja confirms.
Another important aspect: "We simply cannot afford not to hire applicants because of their limitations. We should rather ask ourselves how we as a company can become attractive for these applicants," says the 55-year-old. That's why the representatives for the severely disabled within the thyssenkrupp family work particularly closely with the HR departments: They provide support in terms of consulting - for example in the design of application processes - and are also present at job interviews.
thyssenkrupp is already very far advanced in terms of inclusion, as Anja finds: "At thyssenkrupp we don't just talk about inclusion, we live it." But it is far from being the case everywhere. Looking at our society, Anja has a wish; "We should all not just talk about inclusion. We all need to live inclusion." Not only on May 5.