Romanian Accessibility Awareness Day Conference 2023: Inclusive Workplace Yields Benefits – Key Points & Conclusions (Video)

Romanian Accessibility Awareness Day Conference 2023: Inclusive Workplace Yields Benefits – Key Points & Conclusions (Video)

  • Employing individuals with disabilities not only aligns with moral values but also yields significant economic benefits. According to a report by Accenture, companies that prioritize disability inclusion witness, on average, a 28% increase in revenue and double the net income compared to their industry peers.
  • Establishing inclusiveness through workplace training is pivotal for ensuring equitable treatment of individuals with disabilities or impairments.
  • International experts advocate learning through real-life examples as one of the most impactful approaches to disability inclusion training. 
  • ED&I initiatives—fostering an inclusive workspace through a supportive environment, specialized employee training, and tailored task assignments based on abilities—are fundamental and highlight the strong points of employees.
  • Both public and private sectors possess distinct capacities to cultivate inclusive conditions for individuals with disabilities. The World Bank reports that inclusive workplace practices result in a 10% increase in customer base and a 20% increase in market share.
  • Adapting to employees’ needs involves understanding their information perception, preferred communication channels, and recognizing their strengths. 
  • Continuous training and learning lead to an empathetic approach toward individuals with disabilities. 
  • Accommodating individuals with disabilities in the workplace not only provides financial and psychological support but also enhances retention and performance. 
  • Equality commences within a company through unbiased recruitment processes and accommodation measures for individuals with disabilities. 
  • Technology and artificial intelligence serve as real-time tools significantly improving the daily lives and work efficiency of individuals with disabilities. 
  • Adopting a holistic approach within teams, ensuring the inclusion of all members, creates equal opportunities for disabled persons.
  • Providing individuals with disabilities the opportunity for a career represents a path to independence and freedom. 

Professional activity is a crucial element in guaranteeing personal development and the full participation of human beings in economic and social life. Inclusion is not only a benefit for a particular worker with a different capacity, but it also enriches his or her working environment and society globally. In this context, action must be dual,José Antonio Hernández Pérez-Solorzano, Ambassador of Spain in Romania, said.

The Romanian Diversity Chamber of Commerce, together with #Accessible EU, the European Commission’s initiative, organised the Romanian Accessibility Awareness Day Conference 2023, on September 19th, an event that gathered professionals from different fields in Romania’s both private and non-profit communities. 

Perhaps it’s time to pay it forward and bring all these resources into a digital resource for companies that still need support to move further along the path of being inclusive. If these resources are available within companies, it’s time to extend them to municipalities, schools, universities, and other places that may not currently have an inclusion specialist or may not even know where to start. Also,I was very pleased to hear about the importance of contributing to and putting more pressure on compliance with standards. Tools that make spaces accessible and help both employers and public service providers offer fully accessible services from the start.

Olivia Vereha, Co-Founder/ VP of Product, Code4Romania

Examples from various companies in Romania, with the best practices and how to achieve them, demonstrated that achieving equality, diversity, and inclusion is a realistic goal for every company. 

Our mission is to build for everyone. From the very start, I saw that accessibility is something we take quite seriously. There’s an emphasis on how we build products to be accessible, how we interact with our colleagues who may have disabilities, how we make our documentation accessible, create accessible presentations, and so on,”  Cera Radu, Interaction Designer, Google, added.

Companies could be directly involved in developing the built environment, especially in the public space.

By contributing the most to the state budget through the taxes you pay from your company, you can exert pressure on the public administration to make public spaces around your stores and your offices accessible – this can be done by simply requesting that the city hall be attentive to at least five levels,” says Iris Popescu, AMAIS President.

The conference discussed accessibility through different lenses, from the personal experience of our speakers, to legal frameworks, education, financial topics, economic benefits, implementation policies, humanitarian approaches and strategies for equity and developing an inclusive society for persons with disabilities. 

Veronica Crăciun, Kaufland Constanța; Luminița Hatoș, Kaufland Cluj-Napoca; Andreea Vasile, Moderator; Iulia Lazea, Hervis Sports and Fashion; Anca Miron, Hervis Sports and Fashion; Verginica Rusu, Kaufland Bucharest

 

We had the pleasure and honour to host as speakers and panellists: H.E. Ambassador Reuven Azar (Embassy of Israel in Romania), H.E. Ambassador José Antonio Hernández Pérez-Solorzano (Embassy of Spain in Romania), Irina Crocker (Health Account Manager, MediHelp International), Silvia Stelea (Business Development Manager, Telios Care), Cristina Căluianu (National Expert Romania, European Accessibility Resource Center AccessibleEU), Irina Schvab (Project Manager, CED Romania), Daniel Matei (Sustainability & ESG Manager, Raiffeisen Bank), Argentina Rafail (Counsel, Dentons Romania), Lisa Vernon, (Policy Manager: Health and Disability Equality), Iulia Lazea (HR Manager, Hervis Sports and Fashion România), Anca Miron (Commercial Employee at Hervis Sun Plaza), Olivia Vereha (Co-Founder / VP of Product, Code 4 Romania), Veronica Crăciun (Store Manager, Kaufland Constanța), Luminița Hatoș (Store Manager, Kaufland Cluj), Verginica Rusu (Commercial Employee, Kaufland Bucharest), Cera Radu (Interaction Designer, Google Romania), Irina Tonu (Omnichannel Customer Service Manager, Yves Rocher), Cosmin Jurcan (General Manager, BUSINESS DisABILITY), Iris Popescu (President, AMAIS). 

Inclusion starts with the proper education for the disabled communities and ends up with integration. But let’s face it, it’s not enough to offer us a job, which is hard to get anyway. It’s more than that. It’s relating to us. It’s showing us empathy, sympathy, and I think ultimately it’s an exchange of knowledge, of experiences, and perceptions.

Irina Crocker, Broker and Health Account Manager, MediHelp International

The Romanian Accessibility Awareness Day Conference 2023 was a pivotal event organised by the RDCC to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. Through public awareness, open discussion and tangible examples in Romania, our core mission is to foster a more equitable society for persons with disabilities. 

Collaboration and the willingness to learn, adapt and improve drive economic growth, equitable policymaking and innovation. Bringing everyone to the table, where every voice is welcomed, empowered and given fair opportunities to highlight their strengths, underscores our belief that progress and advancement become an undeniable reality.

The conference was kindly sponsored by ING Bank, Kaufland Romania Access Program, Raiffeisen Bank, Dentons, and MyEcoBox. 

For more insights, watch the full conference here: