5 Benefits of Engaging with Deaf Employees in Mobile Phone Networks

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5 Benefits of engaging with deaf employees in Mobile phone networks

In this article we will explore 5 benefits of engaging with your deaf employees, specifically for mobile phone networks.

We will start by looking at hiring deaf talent, loyalty and retention and then discuss how this can improve your internal communications and understanding of current and potential deaf customers.

You may believe that you don’t have any deaf employees, as if you did, you would know about it right?!

Well, not necessarily. 

Deafness is a hidden disability, so unless someone is wearing a hearing aid or using sign language, it is very difficult to spot.

2 million people in the UK wear hearing aids, and 6.7 million could benefit from wearing them.

54% of employees with a hearing loss are also reluctant to tell their employer, so you will have colleagues who experience a hearing loss, but have never disclosed this.

We will now share five benefits of engaging with your deaf employees.

 

1. Hiring deaf talent

1 in 12 people in your workforce will already be deaf or have a hearing loss.

By employing deaf people, you are creating a more diverse workforce made up of a range of individuals who see the world differently.

This offers you a superpower when it comes to problem solving as deaf people bring unique and valuable perspectives.

If you are interested in seeking more deaf talent into your business, make sure that you do the following:

  • State on job adverts that you are an inclusive employer
  • If you are signed up to the Disability Confident Scheme, make sure you include the icon. Share this on both the job advert, your website and on recruitment pages
  • Advertise roles on deaf job sites so that you are welcoming deaf people to apply

If you are hiring for in store roles, just imagine the added value for both deaf customers and hearing customers, if they were served by a deaf person.

Your deaf colleagues in store would also have a much better understanding of how the 12 million deaf people in the UK interact with mobile phone networks, how these services are used, and what support would be needed.

 

2. Deaf people are more loyal

Deaf people tend to stay longer in businesses, as it is challenging finding an accessible workplace elsewhere.

Their desire to stay within the same business increases staff retention and loyalty, and also many deaf people seek progression within the same business.

Therefore, having team members who have years of retained knowledge of the business can be a major benefit for employers.

 

3. Gain insights into the deaf customer experience

There is a real opportunity to engage with your deaf employees through your internal staff forums/employee working groups.

You can leverage the expertise of your colleagues, as they have personal experience of the challenges that deaf people face when engaging with mobile phone networks.  They will also be able to share how to make your services much more appealing to deaf people.

Here are some questions you could ask:

What are deaf customers’ priorities for choosing a mobile network?

How do we compare to other brands?

What would be the best way we could position our products for deaf people?

(Remember, there are 12 million people in the UK who are deaf or have a hearing loss)

So, seek the experience of deaf colleagues when designing products, offerings and customer journeys.

 

4. Accessible internal communication

If you apply this difference to lengthy pieces of communication, I am sure you can imagine how challenging that would be for a deaf person to access.

This is why we would advocate the use of Plain English.

This would mean using headings, bullet points and keeping sentences short.

Our working lives are busy, so this creates accessible communications for all and saves time.

Look at your internal processes, policies, your website, your product information and assess it for Plain English.  There will definitely be opportunities for improvement.

5. Access to Work

There can be a concern about how deaf employees will access the working environment and what about the extra costs?

Well, there is a Government scheme called Access to Work (AtW), that funds any necessary adjustments in the workplace to make it accessible for disabled employees.

It can fund:

  • Aids and equipment in your workplace
  • Adapting equipment to make it easier for you to use
  • Money towards any extra travel costs to and from work if you can’t use available public transport, or if you need help to adapt your vehicle
  • An interpreter or other support at a job interview if you have difficulty communicating
  • Other practical help at work, such as a BSL Interpreter, Notetaker or lip speaker

ATW will also fund Deaf Awareness Training for the team – so that colleagues can gain a clear understanding of how to work alongside and communicate with a deaf person. This really helps in creating an inclusive workplace.

 

Where we have seen this work

The team at Freeways were looking for some Deaf Awareness Training to ensure that their deaf colleague felt entirely included in the team.

WHY:

To enhance communication amongst the team

WHAT:

Providing bespoke Deaf Awareness Training

OUTCOME:

The team gained so much benefit from the training, learning that it’s not just about learning sign language, but about how to communicate with deaf people on a daily basis.

Their deaf team members could not have been more delighted and impressed that as a company, Freeways had gone to such a level to support her.  She felt that the business had listened and were truly accepting of her.

The training offered more than the basics. We learnt a wealth of information that we wouldn’t have considered ourselves; it really broadened our knowledge.

Training and awareness are vital to educating companies in how to cater to the needs of their deaf team members or customers. We can think of no better company to support this than terptree. In only a couple of hours with them, you will find solutions and answers.

Ange Lock, Manager, Freeways

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