From small enterprises to global companies: Inclusion is important for all organisations. After all, almost everyone will temporarily or permanently experience disability at some point in their life.
During the three-day in-person Innoklusio module, twenty future inclusion managers exchanged ideas on accessibility with speakers from politics, science, business, and society. The pilot project is being run with fourteen companies – and DW is the only public broadcaster among them. We are well represented with four colleagues from the IT, People, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion teams taking part.
Naturally, the topic of barrier-free built environments was discussed on the last day — for example functioning lifts, and appropriate bathrooms — but overcoming mental barriers was also a key point of exchange and learning. People with disabilities often have a difficult time in the open labour market, in part due to unconscious prejudices and the lack of role models in mainstream society. This is confirmed by the latest research from the Inklusionsbarometer 2023.
For a significant part of our society — 7.3 million people in Germany, and 16% worldwide — the road to digital accessibility remains rocky. Possible solutions were discussed at length by the Innoklusio participants. Soon, there will be further legal backing for such improvements: By mid-2025, organisations across Europe must meet a minimum accessibility standard for products and services. Organisations which do not comply may be met with penalties and sanctions under the EU Accessibility Act.
Wanted: creative, flexible, and innovative employees. HR departments and managers just need to open their eyes to disabled talent!
Presenter Louis Kleemeyer’s experience speaks for itself: "I faced many barriers in my professional career.
After I finished secondary school, the only advice from the employment agency was to try a workshop for people with disabilities". Today, Kleemeyer has a professional certification in IT, works as an inclusion mentor for Inklurpeneur and, at the age of 22, is already the founder of his own company. His message: Diversity is Enrichment!
Inclusion affects us all. Most people with disabilities experience disability due to chronic, mental, or physical illness — not due to a disability which they have from birth. Many experience disability during their working lives and disabilities are often invisible and remain a taboo subject in the workplace.
Zahra Nedjabat, Head of DW Diversity, Equity & Inclusion department, emphasizes "DW takes inclusion seriously. We don't just talk about it, but actively tackle challenges through structural and cultural measures. Our inclusion agreement and the Innoklusio and Inklupreneur projects help us a lot in this respect.”
The future inclusion managers of Innoklusio summarise: "People with disabilities are an enrichment for every company and the labour market as a whole. An inclusive working world benefits everyone. It’s time to think ahead and be bold."