For its third year, SPIE’s Disability Awareness Month is extended to cover the Group’s European subsidiaries
Cergy, 23 March 2015 – Covering the whole of April, SPIE’s third annual disability awareness month will aim to make the company’s personnel more aware of sensory disabilities. And this year, for the first time, the campaign is to be extended from France into the Group’s European subsidiaries.
Millions of people in France have sensory disabilities, affecting one or more of the five senses. These are generally visual or hearing impairments. For its third annual disability awareness month, SPIE will develop its employees’ awareness of these various types of impairment and their consequences. They often have the effect of limiting what people can do in their daily and working lives. In some cases, people with these disabilities may be granted special status as officially recognised disabled workers.
Auditory and visual impairments: possible measures to be taken
Some 1.7 million French people are affected by visual impairments. These people have numerous problems accessing information and moving around. “56% of visually impaired people aged between 20 and 59 have jobs,” says SPIE Human Resources Manager Alexandra Raimbault. “That figures shows how much we still have to do as regards integration and special help.” Depending on the visual impairment detected, various types of provision could be made, such as special lighting, suitably adapted offices and software, and voice recognition.
Hearing impairments are also very common, affecting 5 million people in France. The steps to be taken to overcome the difficulty of understanding spoken information vary depending on the severity of the hearing impairment. People affected by this disability can be assisted by means such as hearing prostheses, lip reading, sign language, cued speech and suitable equipment.
Everyone is concerned, everyone plays a part
Disability officers will be deployed at more than 60 SPIE sites, with entertaining interactive terminals, to organise quizzes and provide information on sensory impairments and the official recognition of disabled worker status. The aim is to give each employee a clearer idea of SPIE’s disability policy and of the steps taken to help individuals who are or may be affected by a disability to remain in employment. All the entities in the SPIE Group have demonstrated their creative spirit by organising events in line with their specific needs, such as photography contests encouraging employees to express their perception of disability in the corporate environment, disabled sports events, sensory awareness workshops, collective mural drawing sessions, the distribution of comics, newsletters and videos, chats, quizzes and feedback on best practices.
Another key objective is to encourage personnel to speak up about any sensory disabilities they may have. When employees are affected by disabilities, SPIE proposes suitable, customised solutions to help them readjust to their existing jobs or to new occupations.
SPIE’s disability policy: 4 priority areas
The disability officers at the Group’s various entities work together in networks and are tasked with supervising and implementing SPIE’s disability policy at their local levels in four key areas: keeping disabled people in jobs, recruitment and integration, information and training, and developing purchases from sheltered employment sectors. SPIE’s Disability Awareness Month highlights the actions taken by disability officers throughout the year, such as joint recruitment interviews, participation in forums to recruit personnel on work-study schemes and talks on the subject of diversity at engineering schools to promote awareness in this field among the Group’s future staff and managers.