Catalyst Issue 7 - Page 6

Making informed adjustments , rather than knee-jerk
assumptions , enables people with disabilities to add value , writes HSBC care consultant Fuchsia Carter .
I was brought on board a year ago by Alexander Mann Solutions as a candidate care consultant , to oversee reasonable adjustments for candidates with disabilities applying to HSBC . As a disabled person ( I am a wheelchair user and have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome ) I know , all too well , the challenges that can be faced during a recruitment process .
Often , people just don ’ t know how to talk to those with disabilities , which results in their not putting the right reasonable adjustments in place . When I began my role , I was tasked with liaising with hiring managers to make sure that no one is discriminated against and the right help is there for disabled candidates .
At first , I had a lot of emails from hiring managers asking me to explain things . I ’ d assumed that everyone knew about certain levels of disability ; for example , with diabetes , that you sometimes need to have a break to check your blood sugar levels or to eat . I thought that was just general knowledge . But it isn ’ t , so it became a case of giving managers a glimpse into the disability world .
People make things around disability recruitment incredibly complicated ; they don ’ t need to be . However , it ’ s so important not to base action around assumptions . For example , don ’ t assume that just because someone ’ s got a disability , they ’ re incapable of doing something . Have an open and frank conversation with them – don ’ t be afraid to ask . Rather than saying “ what ’ s wrong with you ?” or “ do you need someone to fill out that application form for you ?” ask “ what can I do to help you ; what do you need ?” They will tell you in their own words .
If they ’ re like me , they might need a little more time to answer questions . They might not be able to shake hands at interview or look an interviewer in the eye . I really struggle to look people in the face – I can ’ t even do it on Zoom . If that happens , don ’ t assume someone ’ s being rude . The ‘ oldschool ’ practices of wearing suits and shaking hands can be incredibly intimidating for someone with a disability like mine .
About seven months into my role , things really started to click into place ; recruiters and hiring managers were no longer making assumptions and were asking fewer questions . I had positive feedback from colleagues saying that my insight is helping them to do their jobs better ; that it helps take the guesswork out of everything . There has been an increase both in the number of disabled people being employed and in the proportion transferred internally to different jobs within HSBC . We ’ ve seen a rise in productivity across the account because of my work . It ’ s a great feeling to receive such great feedback after just one year in the job .
I ’ m also here to support candidates . Going through the process of changing jobs , especially if you ’ re at risk of redundancy , is incredibly stressful . If you have a high level of anxiety or poor mental health , you ’ re not necessarily going to be thinking straight . I ’ ve had quite a lot of people contact me upset , especially during COVID . But they just want someone to talk to and to understand what is going on in their heads . I ’ m that person ; I ’ ve supported around 1,000 people so far .
I think Alexander Mann Solutions is leading the way on this . I don ’ t know of any other company in the UK that has someone solely looking after reasonable adjustments for candidates with disabilities . And although I ’ m based within HSBC , I ’ m also able to support other clients .
Ultimately , it ’ s all about making small changes . It ’ s not difficult or expensive , it just needs a little bit more understanding , research and letting go of assumptions . It ’ s just stripping it back to basics and literally asking “ what can I do to help you ? Let me know . Email me , call me , I ’ m here ”.
Fuchsia Carter is an Alexander Mann Solutions care candidate consultant , working onsite at HSBC to oversee reasonable adjustments for candidates with disabilities .

Catalyst | Diversity

D

How to support people with disabilities to thrive at work

Fuchsia Carter

Making informed adjustments , rather than knee-jerk

assumptions , enables people with disabilities to add value , writes HSBC care consultant Fuchsia Carter .
I was brought on board a year ago by Alexander Mann Solutions as a candidate care consultant , to oversee reasonable adjustments for candidates with disabilities applying to HSBC . As a disabled person ( I am a wheelchair user and have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome ) I know , all too well , the challenges that can be faced during a recruitment process .
Often , people just don ’ t know how to talk to those with disabilities , which results in their not putting the right reasonable adjustments in place . When I began my role , I was tasked with liaising with hiring managers to make sure that no one is discriminated against and the right help is there for disabled candidates .
At first , I had a lot of emails from hiring managers asking me to explain things . I ’ d assumed that everyone knew about certain levels of disability ; for example , with diabetes , that you sometimes need to have a break to check your blood sugar levels or to eat . I thought that was just general knowledge . But it isn ’ t , so it became a case of giving managers a glimpse into the disability world .

It ’ s all about making small changes . It ’ s not difficult or expensive , it just needs a little bit more understanding , research and letting go of assumptions

Frank and open conversations

People make things around disability recruitment incredibly complicated ; they don ’ t need to be . However , it ’ s so important not to base action around assumptions . For example , don ’ t assume that just because someone ’ s got a disability , they ’ re incapable of doing something . Have an open and frank conversation with them – don ’ t be afraid to ask . Rather than saying “ what ’ s wrong with you ?” or “ do you need someone to fill out that application form for you ?” ask “ what can I do to help you ; what do you need ?” They will tell you in their own words .
If they ’ re like me , they might need a little more time to answer questions . They might not be able to shake hands at interview or look an interviewer in the eye . I really struggle to look people in the face – I can ’ t even do it on Zoom . If that happens , don ’ t assume someone ’ s being rude . The ‘ oldschool ’ practices of wearing suits and shaking hands can be incredibly intimidating for someone with a disability like mine .
About seven months into my role , things really started to click into place ; recruiters and hiring managers were no longer making assumptions and were asking fewer questions . I had positive feedback from colleagues saying that my insight is helping them to do their jobs better ; that it helps take the guesswork out of everything . There has been an increase both in the number of disabled people being employed and in the proportion transferred internally to different jobs within HSBC . We ’ ve seen a rise in productivity across the account because of my work . It ’ s a great feeling to receive such great feedback after just one year in the job .

1.3 billion people globally have some sort of disability

19 % of the UK ’ s working population has some sort of disability

People with disabilities have a global spending power of $ 8 trillion

Someone to talk to

I ’ m also here to support candidates . Going through the process of changing jobs , especially if you ’ re at risk of redundancy , is incredibly stressful . If you have a high level of anxiety or poor mental health , you ’ re not necessarily going to be thinking straight . I ’ ve had quite a lot of people contact me upset , especially during COVID . But they just want someone to talk to and to understand what is going on in their heads . I ’ m that person ; I ’ ve supported around 1,000 people so far .
I think Alexander Mann Solutions is leading the way on this . I don ’ t know of any other company in the UK that has someone solely looking after reasonable adjustments for candidates with disabilities . And although I ’ m based within HSBC , I ’ m also able to support other clients .
Ultimately , it ’ s all about making small changes . It ’ s not difficult or expensive , it just needs a little bit more understanding , research and letting go of assumptions . It ’ s just stripping it back to basics and literally asking “ what can I do to help you ? Let me know . Email me , call me , I ’ m here ”.
Fuchsia Carter is an Alexander Mann Solutions care candidate consultant , working onsite at HSBC to oversee reasonable adjustments for candidates with disabilities .