Episode 126 HR Coffee Time

Navigating the workplace as a deaf individual comes with unique challenges that can often go unnoticed. In this episode of HR Coffee Time, we delve into practical strategies to foster an inclusive and empowering environment for deaf colleagues.

Host Fay Wallis is joined by Victoria Williams, founder and CEO of terptree, an organisation dedicated to transforming the experiences of deaf employees and customers.

Key Points From This Episode

[00:00] Introduction and overview

[00:59] Introducing Victoria Williams

[02:50] The story behind terptree

[07:04] The power of 1% changes

[07:41] Make sure website content is written in plain English and is well laid out

[07:55] Ensure you provide an email address not just a phone number in your website’s contact details

[10:09] Deafness is a hidden disability

[10:36] Hearing loss can be acquired over time

[10:51] People don’t always realise they are experiencing hearing loss

[11:28] Misconceptions about hearing aids

[12:27] Deaf employees may miss out on incidental learning

[15:31] Practical tips for inclusivity – environment, communication, team integration

[16:18] Involving the deaf person in making adjustments

[16:53] Larger organisations can engage with internal employee focus groups

[17:02] The Access to Work scheme

[18:43] Health and safety – ensuring the fire alarm system is effective

[19:41] Disability disclose is a moving thing

[20:11] The importance of being open and building trust and empathy

[20:38] The social side of work is important

[21:09] Using an interpreter for British Sign Language users

[21:25] Deaf awareness training ‘is a must’

[22:35] Attracting Deaf Talent

[22:59] The Disability Confident Employer scheme

[28:11] How to contact Victoria and learn more about her work

Useful Links

Buy the Book Recommendation

(Disclosure: the book links are affiliate links which means that Fay will receive a small commission from Amazon if you make a purchase through them)

Don’t Silence Your Talent: Unleash the value of your deaf employees, by Victoria Williams

 

Other Relevant HR Coffee Time Episodes

Spotify playlist: HR Coffee Time – create an equitable, diverse & inclusive workplace

Looking For the Transcript?

You can find the transcript on this page of the Bright Sky Career Coaching website.

Rate and Review the Podcast

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Transcript
Fay Wallis:

Hello and welcome back to HR Coffee Time. It’s wonderful to have you listening today. I’m your host, Fay Wallis, a career and executive coach with a background in HR. And I’ve made HR Coffee Time, especially for you to help you have a successful and fulfilling HR or people career. without working yourself into the ground.

Today, we’re covering a really important topic, which is how to empower and support your deaf colleagues at work. Nearly 20 percent of the world’s population currently have deafness or hearing loss, which is a huge number. It means that many of us or our colleagues are experiencing this and as HR and people professionals it’s crucial to understand the unique challenges that come with deafness or hearing loss so that we can create a truly inclusive environment for everyone at work.

I’m really excited to be joined by Victoria Williams as our guest for today to help us with this. It was talking to Victoria and reading her brilliant book, Don’t Silence Your Talent unleash the value of your deaf employees, that made me realise just how little I truly knew or understood about the challenges faced by deaf people at work.

As you’ll hear Victoria explain in a minute, deafness is a hidden disability. So even the most well meaning organisations can make mistakes simply because they don’t know who might be affected by deafness or how this impacts them at work. To tell you a little bit about Victoria, she is the founder and CEO of terptree, an organization on a mission to change the world for deaf people by revamping their experiences as both employees and customers.

In our chat, she shares her personal journey all the way from learning sign language as a child up to founding terptree. I’m incredibly grateful to her for sharing so many practical suggestions and such brilliant advice with us on how to empower and support our deaf colleagues. I hope you enjoy learning from Victoria as much as I did.

Let’s go ahead and meet her now. Welcome to the show, Victoria. It is wonderful to have you here.

Victoria Williams:

Thank you for having me. Delighted to come and speak to you today.

Fay Wallis:

Oh, you’re so welcome because we first met each other, gosh, nearly a year ago and I read your fabulous book when I was on my summer holiday last year.

So it feels like this has been a long time in the making and it’s exciting to have you here with me today. But I thought it would be great to start our chat together by asking you if you can share your story behind setting up your business, which is called terptree.

Victoria Williams:

Awesome. Thank you. It is one of those stories, you know, you get some businesses that have this real pivotal moment that is that sort of passion moment that you think, yeah, this is what I was made to do.

I was always as a child, really slightly obsessive languages, and I am slightly obsessive languages, still spoken languages as well. But, um, when I was younger, uh, 13, my cousin was born profoundly deaf. Now, he wasn’t diagnosed as deaf immediately. It took quite a long time to diagnose him. The systems back there were very different.

You’d have a health visitor coming into a room and banging something. Max, as a deaf child, was very visually acutely aware of what was going on and he would watch the health visitor behind him and then they’d be like, he’s hearing and we would be like, he’s definitely not because he doesn’t respond when my aunt called him the dog would bark loudly.

He wouldn’t turn around. She’d be like, that’s not right. So eventually when he was diagnosed as profoundly deaf, we as a family started to learn sign language, which was incredibly Just amazing, because I was already learning spoken languages at school, loved them, and this was another language to learn, which I really enjoyed.

Um, and I spent a considerable amount of time in my childhood staying with the family anyway, so I would learn sign language with Max alongside him during the summer holidays every year, which was fantastic, because I got to grow up with him. So that all sort of amalgamated in my love for languages and just continued that.

So I continued sign language through my other spoken language learning through school as well. So just continue that learning, study exams. And then I decided to go to uni to become a German spoken language interpreter. And it was my first year at uni. I failed one of my sign language exams and I just sat there and thought.

Oh, I’m going to have to make a choice. I thought I could do them at the same time, but that was very naive of me. So I had to make a choice. So I left uni and pursued my career in sign language. I was deciding that I wanted to become a sign language interpreter. So I sort of left there, done that, trained in sign language and managed to get a job at the British Deaf Association where I worked in a deaf team.

So I was here 19 years old, turning up. working in a deaf team for the first time, um, having grown up around sign language, but this was a very, very different experience for me and continued my sign language training through there. Worked for lots of deaf charities, worked in mental health for deaf people, then continued my training to become an interpreter, became an interpreter, and then 17 years ago, set up terptree.

So I’ve had, my whole career has been in the deaf community, um, and I’ve been privileged enough to have seen, this sort of environment in different domains of, as I said, health, mental health, in the workplace, in politics, in every setting you can imagine, you know, I’ve interpreted things like flower shows, raves, literally everything you can imagine I’ve done.

I’ve been to Lapland interpreting, so I’ve interpreted for Santa officially. So I’ve done all sorts of really cool things, but I got to the point in my career as an interpreter where I kept seeing these problems happening when I was in the rooms with people. So I’d be interpreting a meeting between a team and I could see there was a lack of empowerment for the deaf employee going on and a proper sort of imbalance of power, imbalance of just engagement and authority and all of those things.

And I thought. This just isn’t right. But as an interpreter, you’re there to be impartial. So you’re not there to give your opinion or to share anything. So I would never have done that, but I just kept on getting that niggly feeling. So I set the business up and decided that as a business, I’d be able to have more power to share my knowledge and insights of my experiences in all of these domains with both,

you know, deaf people and hearing people. So we basically work with large organizations and help them revamp both their deaf customer and their deaf employee experience. So large global businesses and UK based businesses, and we also provide sign language interacting services. So yeah, 17 years old, and I still love it as much as the day that I decided that we would, um, set up.

And we’re privileged because we work with companies like British Airways, The Entertainer, Legal and General. And we choose to do that because we know that those companies are serving lots of people, whether that be lots of employees or lots of customers. So we know that going to those large companies, we can have that biggest, the bigger, bigger impact really.

Fay Wallis:

Well, I know that we’re going to have lots of people listening from big and small companies today. And I’d just love to reassure anyone who’s listening thinking, Oh no, but I work for a really small company. How is this interview going to be helpful for me? That having read your book and knowing a lot of the advice and the information you share in there, that it is applicable no matter what size organisation you’re working for, isn’t it?

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, absolutely. I think, I mean, what I tried to do in the book is make it as simple as possible for people, um, and recommend sort of lots of small, what I like to sort of target them as like 1 percent changes. So I think any company that I speak to gets really concerned about this cause they go, well, we don’t do anything.

And I’m like, that’s okay. It doesn’t matter that you don’t do anything. Yeah. We, yes, there’s this all singing, all dancing model that all of us would like to get to, but I think that’s true of anything in life, whether it’s our health, our tidiness of our home, we’ve got these, you know, this would be what it would look like if it was perfect.

And we can work towards that, but we don’t jump to the end goal at the end. We have to work towards that in sort of small, tangible steps. So for small businesses, even things like looking at their website content and making sure that it’s written in plain English. So it’s written in a way that is easy to access, easy to understand using clear headers, clear bullet points, things like that is really good.

Making sure that on your contact options on your website, for example, you’ve got your email addresses, not just your telephone numbers. So it’s, it’s a lot of the suggestions in the book. I would, I would say definitely can be applicable to businesses of any size. Um, and those small changes are the ones that actually make the difference.

Fay Wallis:

I should probably mention what the title of your book is for anyone, for anyone who’s listening and thinking, Oh, I need to go away and read this. So the book is called Don’t Silence Your Talent, Unleash the Value of Your Deaf Employees. And it’s through that, that I knew your origin story and what your background is because you share it and there are even photos in there of you with your cousin and photos of you doing your various roles throughout the years which is really lovely to read it really helps bring the book to life and it means that it’s not a dry read at all it’s engaging and like you said there are lots of practical tips in there.

The overwhelming sense that I had when I read your book was that it made me realize how little I actually knew and how little I understood of what the challenges are that so many people who are deaf face when they are thinking of either applying for a role or are working alongside colleagues in an organization.

And I’m guessing that you probably find a really similar reaction from other people too, when they’ve either read your book or they’ve met you or they’ve been through some of your training. So it’s really hard for me to figure out, gosh, what are the best questions for me to ask you about this? Because I felt like I’m literally learning from a point of ground zero.

I just hadn’t realized I’ve got this much of a lack of awareness. What would you say the biggest misunderstandings or lack of knowledge in this area are? Not just for me, but for, for pretty much everybody who hasn’t really immersed themselves in this or looked into this aspect of inclusivity before.

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, I would, I would say there’s a lot of them and you’re absolutely right. I think what I find really interesting is when we generally sort of give a deaf awareness training presentation or something like that, or have a meeting with someone. Yeah. There is a bit of mild panic that happens, I think, first off, where someone, I think, as you’ve explained, goes, oh, I didn’t really realize, I didn’t realize any of this, like a lot of it’s new.

I think that comes from the fact that deafness is one of the hidden disabilities, ie you can’t always see that someone is deaf or has a hearing loss. So oftentimes, stuff can be happening. And you don’t even know that that’s happening because someone has a hearing loss. It could be in addition to the fact that person may not even know they have a hearing loss, because what we need to remember is hearing loss doesn’t just happen.

So if you’ve got someone who’s applied for a role in an organization, yes, they could have a hearing loss already and be applying and have a hearing loss, but actually hearing loss can be acquired over time as well. So, um, and that can happen incrementally, so it doesn’t, you know, there is this thing where sometimes people do wake up and they lose their hearing overnight.

That is real. It’s not a myth. But that’s obviously not en masse. So you will find people in your organizations that, as I said, will start being hearing and then they will acquire hearing loss over time. And that can show up in all sorts of ways. You could find your employee much less engaged with their work, much less engaged with the team, withdrawing because they’re missing stuff.

And they’re thinking, well, I don’t know why I’m missing stuff. And the challenge is as humans, we start to think, well, there must be other reasons. You know, Oh, I’m really tired at the moment. Or I’ve got a lot going on at home or, Oh, it’s really cold outside or it’s dark. And I just haven’t had enough sleep.

All of that stuff. We start. finding reasons and, um, trying to sort of rationalize the reasons that we’re missing this information when in fact it could be a hearing loss. So some of the sort of misconceptions are that deaf people, if they’re wearing hearing aids can hear everything around them, massive misconception.

Hearing aids, in fact, will amplify every sound around. So if you were sitting in a team meeting environment, for example, and you’re listening into the meeting through using hearing aids, any tiny movement or, or sort of sound, if that’s a chair scraping on the ground or someone shuffling their papers, or in fact, someone going past in the corridor and having a conversation, the hearing aids are going to pick up and amplify every single sound in that environment.

So therefore, Yes, there’s attunement to the voice, which is going to be the loudest sound. And if the room is acoustically well set up, like it’s, you know, it’s, it’s soundproofed and everything in best listening conditions, great, but very difficult in any other situations. So this obviously causes deaf people an issue if they’re working in open plan offices where things are being discussed, because there’s not the ability to tune into those conversations, which

means that a lot of information is missed. If you think about, I mean, I’ve worked in open plan offices before, where I’ve sat there and I can hear all the conversations going on around me. And if I choose to listen to this one, I’m going to learn about this. If I choose to listen to this one, I’m going to learn about this.

The same happens if I sit on a train, the same, in so many environments, we are incidentally learning and not even realizing we are. But for deaf employees, they miss a lot of information through not being able to access that stuff that just happens naturally around. So oftentimes deaf people can be seen to be underperforming.

And I’m putting, I’m putting little speech bubbles up when I say that it’s, and it’s not underperformance, it’s actually just missing information and therefore not being able to, to, to respond to that. The other misconception, certainly when it comes to sign language users, is that bringing in an interpreter is enough.

So we’ll just put an interpreter in the room, then we’ve done it. We’ve ticked the box, we’ve done it. Um, and that person has access, but yes, that person has access in that meeting. But then what happens holistically around their work environment when they don’t have the interpreter there? So yes, in the team meeting that’s facilitated, but elsewhere, it’s those considerations.

The one that we get from employers a lot is, um, I would know if I had deaf employees. It’s like, you probably wouldn’t actually, because in terms of hearing aid wearers, there are 2 million people in the UK who wear hearing aids, but actually there are 6. 7 million people who would benefit from wearing them.

So you’ve got a huge discrepancy in numbers in terms of those people that could benefit from wearing hearing aids. So that’s the only really visual indicator, unless someone’s a sign language user. And also, as I said, you’ve got those people who may have a hearing loss, choose not to disclose that to their employer, because they think that might cause them an issue in their career, or people that have acquired a hearing loss and don’t really know that that’s happening for them.

So it’s a minefield when you’ve got hidden disabilities, something that you can’t see, something that’s not tangible. It’s really difficult to sort of assess the impact of that, both from the employer point of view. And the employee point of view, but I think the book for me is about trying to put the things in place so that you’re making it much easier for all of that to be naturally facilitated.

So you’re not having to think about, Oh, that person has to tell their employer that because the workplace is number one already set up in an inclusive way. And then the, the culture of the workplace is so much so that the employee feels comfort in knowing that. Yeah, okay. I can tell my employer that because it’s not going to impact my job.

They want, they’re looking for, you know, diverse talent in their workforce, therefore I fit within that remit. So I think it’s, it’s that setting up to win part, which is all the one percenters and yeah, empowering employees to not feel concerned about disclosure. Disclosure is a really big deal for people.

Yeah. So there’s, there’s so many misconceptions. I mean, as you said, I could, I could talk all day about all the misconceptions that I’ve experienced and I hear about.

Fay Wallis:

I think it’s really helpful to hear those key ones. And they’re things that I certainly wasn’t aware of. So I’m sure that lots of other people, won’t be aware of it either.

So thank you for talking us through it. And then you talked about the fact that there’s a two prong approach. You have the. making the culture the right one, one where people feel that they can speak up, but then also actually creating that inclusive environment, being really proactive about it. Would you be able to talk us through what some practical things are that we could be doing then?

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, so I think what was interesting for me in the process of writing a book is that sort of consolidated my, my understanding of what the challenges are that deaf people face and also enable me to put them into groups. So, What I found is that they fall into three main categories, really one being environment, two communication and three team integration.

So in terms of, so I can give some examples about sort of things that can be changed in environments and, and also with communication team integration that can create inclusive working environments. So. When it comes to the environment, it’s, it’s sort of what I find the most important thing is talking to deaf employees.

I think employers get really concerned about thinking that they have to have all of the answers. Now, employees are very happy to share their experiences, if that’s going to mean that the adjustments are put into place for them to have an inclusive work environment. And often with deaf people, They would rather be asked what their opinions are and be engaged with so that the particular adjustments can be set up for them.

Every deaf person is different. So an adjustment that you make for one deaf employee is not going to be the same one for another deaf employee. So I think setting the environment up is really important. But in addition to that, speak to the individuals, because if you’ve got an individual working in an open plan office versus someone going out on site visits, their adjustments are going to be completely different.

You can also engage with internal employee focus groups. Um, so if you’re a larger organization, you’ve got the opportunity to do that, to speak to other employee groups and find out what adjustments could be made. There are things like the access to work scheme that very few people know about, which actually is a scheme that’s government funded.

So the employee, any disabled employee would be assessed externally by someone. And they would be given a pot of funding based on what their needs are. So for me, for example, I have arthritis in my fingers. So I have been given funding to pay for dictation software so that I don’t have to type excessively, which obviously is painful for me, but also could worsen my health conditions.

So, um, arthritis is a disability that falls under, under the sort of remit of the access to work scheme. So it’s a really easy process. If you just Google apply for access to work, you’d find information about that. I think that that’s so applicable to so many people out there who have disabilities that they wouldn’t consider as a disability.

As I said, arthritis being a health condition, you wouldn’t consider it potentially like that. And also neurodiversity as well is considered under that. Um, and there are many adjustments that can be given in terms of funded sort of adjustments from the access to work scheme. So things like that are things that people just go, wow, I never realized that.

And many deaf people don’t know about access to work. And we’re the first people that tell them. in their 50s, in their career. And you just think, wow, they’ve gone through their whole career and not had any funding to do that. And the employer doesn’t really know what they’re doing either. So that can really help the employer to want to employ deaf people, because I think there’s always the concern about, well, this is going to cost me a lot of money.

What do I do? What, what adjustments do I put in place? So having a scheme in place that, can support the employer in their understanding and also help with some of the funding can really make a difference. And I think it’s, it’s, as I said, with the deaf employee assessing the working environment, working with them to understand their working environment, how it works best for them.

Obviously, there’s, there’s things to consider like health and safety, making sure that fire alarm systems are put in place. If you, if you’ve got a fire alarm system, it should be a, have a vibrating function so that you’ve got maybe a pager that the deaf employee would wear along around the building, and then that would vibrate if the fire alarm went off, or you can have this flashing light system.

So there’s all this sort of health and health and safety considerations too, but Again, I think people get really concerned about the detail and my view is you’ve got, there’s lots of experts out there, including us, including people, you know, who are assessing for access to work. The deaf employee themselves is an expert in their own needs through their lived experience.

So I think it’s about the not panicking, quite frankly, and just working that through with the, with the employee. In terms of communication, as I said, people deaf people miss out on a lot of information due to that lack of incidental learning. That’s one of the biggest challenges and deaf people often feel like they’re the last to know, which leads to isolation, withdrawing from the workplace and things.

Disability disclosure is important as we talked about, because if someone discloses the disability, therefore you can put the adjustments in place. What I always recommend with disability disclosure is it’s a moving thing. So, as I said, hearing loss can be acquired at any point in life. So if we, if we’re only asking a job interview, if someone has a disability, we’re going to miss that through the, through their working life.

So I think just constant checking in with employees in general, is there anything we can do? Are there any challenges you’re having that I can help with? If you’re being open and you’re building trust and empathy with your employees, they’re more likely to share information that they might be internally at the back of their head going, Oh, I just don’t know if I should share that.

Is that going to cause a problem? What are they going to think of me? Are they going to think I can’t do my job anymore? Are they, people get so consumed by that, but I think if, if there’s that rapport, they’re more likely to disclose something that they might feel is concerning them. And that leads to sort of things like team integration, understanding work environments.

The social side of work is as important as the work stuff, and often deaf people won’t attend any of the social side. stuff. So if there’s, if, you know, as a team, you go out for birthday drinks, for example, or you have lunch every Friday at the pub, anything like that, deaf people generally will pull back from that because you’re going to a noisy environment.

It’s going to be hard to engage. You don’t, you can’t pick up on the whole conversation. So making sure that you’re aware of that and thinking about the social side, how that’s going to be facilitated so that that deaf team member can be included. So if it’s a BSL user, for example, um, As a previous interpreter, as an interpreter, I’ve been on many lunches where I’ve interpreted over lunch for the deaf employee.

with their hearing peers. So they’ve been involved in that. So there are always ways to make that happen comfortably so that the deaf person’s completely involved. Deaf awareness training is a must that helps teams really understand how a deaf person communicates. I mean, as I said, the book for me, it was more about it being practical than anything else.

I wasn’t keen on just writing a book that was very theory based. I wanted to write a book that had practical things that people could literally pick the book up and go, Oh, that’s great. Okay, I can do that. I can do that. I can do that. And as I said, all of these 1 percent gains being built into this, you know, creating a deaf inclusive workplace.

Fay Wallis:

It’s so interesting hearing you share all of that advice. And when you were talking about consulting with the person and asking them what’s going to be helpful for them, that’s a message that keeps coming through loud and clear whenever we’ve had any guests on the show to talk about inclusivity. It’s particularly reminding me of, I did a short series of episodes around neurodiversity.

And as you mentioned, when you were talking about access to work, access to work came up then as being an incredibly helpful resource for people and that they don’t necessarily realize it’s there. So it’s great to hear access to work being mentioned again. As we were talking, I’ve realized a lot of what we’ve been focusing on is for when someone is actually

in the workplace. Can I ask you a little bit about trying to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible when it comes to attracting deaf people to apply to work at your organization? I remember I stumbled across a website last year, well when I say stumbled across, I was approached by an organization about potentially doing some work for them and I was blown away when I looked at their website.

So they have the disability confident employer badge on their website. And all of their videos on there had the person talking and subtitles but they also had someone signing what was being discussed. And I’m sure there were a whole host of other ways that they were being as welcoming and accessible and as inclusive as they possibly could to people with all disabilities, including people who were deaf. So it would be, again, just amazing to hear your thoughts on how, as organizations, people can be

being as inclusive and welcoming as possible.

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, I think, I think those are really good ways. I think definitely the Disability Confident Scheme is a great scheme because it, it basically allows an organization to assess and look at all the ways that they’re doing things to make sure that they’re upskilling and, you know, making things as inclusive as they can be.

Definitely, if you’ve got any videos, all of them should be captioned without, without a doubt. Please don’t rely on YouTube captioning anyone listening to this because it’s not great.

It’s not expensive. There are companies like Rev. com, REV. com that are like 1 dollar something a minute. You can literally send them your clip and it will embed the captions on your clip for you so you don’t even have to deal with any of the video editing and then they’ll send it back as a rendered file with the captions on.

So definitely as a minimum put captions on everything because what you’ve got to remember is it’s not just deaf people that will be looking at the captions, probably people with dyslexia will also watch the captions and be listening as well.

was approved by government in:

And it won’t, it would not surprise me if we soon get to a point whereby, That act gets sort of reviewed and elongated and looks more at private companies, not just public bodies.

That will be in no doubt where that’s going based on current trends across the globe as well. So prep and get it, get that done. But I think also things like putting things like we want a diverse team. We are looking for diversity in our workforce. And we want people who are going to reflect our customers.

Because, you know, I think that’s the thing when people are looking for roles. They’re looking for those signs of belonging. Like, will I belonging in that organization? Am I going to feel like, you know, I’m the only deaf person here, or am I going to feel included and you don’t have to say, yes, we have deaf people working here, I’m not suggesting that, but saying that you want a diverse workforce that already says to me, okay, I’m very different from others, therefore.

you’re looking for me because I am different from others. You’re looking for that in me. So I think all of those sorts of small things, making sure that you’re promoting it on job boards where deaf people go. There are lots of online job boards where deaf people look for jobs. So you could, you could literally put your job ads in those places to actually seek diverse talent specifically.

Yeah. I think there are lots of different things you can do. And it is, but it’s that whole positioning piece of, you know, That’s what we’re looking for. You could even use, I’ve seen organizations now that are capturing sort of internal videos of current staff members, current team members who are deaf and have a range of disabilities talking about their experience working for those organizations.

So using case studies, internal employee case studies alongside the recruitment process can also be very powerful because you’re then able to showcase diverse talent. So you’re not just tokenistically saying it, you’re, you’re actually showcasing that we’re not just saying it, we do have it already and we want more of it.

So.

Fay Wallis:

I feel like I’m probably putting you on the spot now, but when you were talking about there being specific job boards, are there any that you’d be happy to mention? Because I can make sure that I put links to everything that you’re kindly sharing with us today. I’ll put links to everything in the podcast show notes so that for anyone who really wants to go away and do their research or access the resources you’re talking about, they can easily do that.

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, there’s things like, um, there’s lots of sort of online groups like Deaf UK Jobs and stuff like that, where Jobs, jobs specifically where people are looking for deaf people are, there’s lots of, um, groups on LinkedIn as well, where you could post things. There are, there’s lots of, there’s lots of places, but I can share with you absolutely to put in the show notes, the specific links of those places to go, and I think what, I mean, what we’re finding when we’re talking to organizations these days is they are actually more, I think we used to be at the point where people were looking to sort of make sure the reasonable adjustments are made and make sure that.

Things are made inclusive and accessible, but actually now I’m seeing organizations going, no, we actively want diverse talent. Where do we find the diverse talent? So I think they’re finally realizing the benefits of having a diverse workforce, um, and they’re actively seeking it.

So there’s been a real shift, I think, in focus there as well, which is fantastic.

Fay Wallis:

Well, that would be great. Thank you so much. If you can share those links with me, and then I will make sure that they’re there for everybody. And for anyone listening who isn’t subscribed to receive my HR Coffee Time emails, I try and send out an email every single week.

So I’ll make sure that I Email out those links as well, as well as a link to this recording. If you’re not signed up, if you go to the show notes, you can easily join the newsletter or just hop onto my website, which is brightskycareercoaching. co. uk. And you’ll see that there are lots of places on there that you can access it.

And now we are reaching the end of our time together today. Victoria, before I say goodbye, for anyone listening who would love to learn more about your work or get in touch with you, what is the best way of them doing that?

Victoria Williams:

Awesome. So, um, our website has a ton of resources on a learning center, lots of articles and things. So our website is always a good place to go. And the sort of platform that I’m most on is probably LinkedIn. And that’s in life in general, by the way, I spend way more time on LinkedIn than I do any other application.

On my phone. So, yeah. So if anyone wants to ask any particular questions, I am on LinkedIn. You can message me and it is me that receives my messages and it’s me that responds to my messages. So yeah, message me on LinkedIn and chat to me on there. That’d be great. Or follow me on LinkedIn and you’ll get access to all of the stuff we post as well.

Fay Wallis:

And do you want to remind everyone what the name of your company is so they can find it if they’re looking for your website?

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, absolutely. We are terptree, which is T E R P T R E E, which comes from terp being a short word for interpreter and tree just because I love trees. Slightly random, but it’s true.

And it’s all lowercase, randomly, because I just think that looks better. So yeah, terptree that’s us.

Fay Wallis:

Brilliant. Well, thank you so much, Victoria. It has been fantastic talking to you today.

Victoria Williams:

Thank you for having me. It’s been brilliant.

Fay Wallis:

That brings us to the end of this episode. I really hope you enjoyed hearing from Victoria.

She and I would love to know if you decide to take any action off the back of listening to the episode. I’ll share links to our contact details in the show notes for you, but recently I’ve noticed that show notes are a bit harder to find than they used to be in some of the podcast apps. So just to let you know, the easiest way of tracking them down is to go to my website, which is called Bright Sky Career Coaching, head over to the HR Coffee Time page, and then you will find this episode on there.

It is episode 126. inclusive workplaces, how to empower and support your deaf colleagues with Victoria Williams. And on the page for that episode, you will find the full show notes there, ready and waiting for you. Finally, before I say goodbye, if you did enjoy the episode and found it helpful, I would be so grateful if you would be happy to rate or review HR Coffee Time in whichever podcasting app you’re listening to it in, because ratings and reviews make such a big difference in helping HR Coffee Time reach more listeners and have an even bigger impact.

Thank you so much. Take care. And I’m looking forward to being back again soon with the next HR Coffee Time episode for you.

Transcript
Fay Wallis:

Hello and welcome back to HR Coffee Time. It's wonderful to have you listening today. I'm your host, Fay Wallis, a career and executive coach with a background in HR. And I've made HR Coffee Time, especially for you to help you have a successful and fulfilling HR or people career. without working yourself into the ground.

Today, we're covering a really important topic, which is how to empower and support your deaf colleagues at work. Nearly 20 percent of the world's population currently have deafness or hearing loss, which is a huge number. It means that many of us or our colleagues are experiencing this and as HR and people professionals it's crucial to understand the unique challenges that come with deafness or hearing loss so that we can create a truly inclusive environment for everyone at work.

I'm really excited to be joined by Victoria Williams as our guest for today to help us with this. It was talking to Victoria and reading her brilliant book, Don't Silence Your Talent unleash the value of your deaf employees, that made me realise just how little I truly knew or understood about the challenges faced by deaf people at work.

As you'll hear Victoria explain in a minute, deafness is a hidden disability. So even the most well meaning organisations can make mistakes simply because they don't know who might be affected by deafness or how this impacts them at work. To tell you a little bit about Victoria, she is the founder and CEO of terptree, an organization on a mission to change the world for deaf people by revamping their experiences as both employees and customers.

In our chat, she shares her personal journey all the way from learning sign language as a child up to founding terptree. I'm incredibly grateful to her for sharing so many practical suggestions and such brilliant advice with us on how to empower and support our deaf colleagues. I hope you enjoy learning from Victoria as much as I did.

Let's go ahead and meet her now. Welcome to the show, Victoria. It is wonderful to have you here.

Victoria Williams:

Thank you for having me. Delighted to come and speak to you today.

Fay Wallis:

Oh, you're so welcome because we first met each other, gosh, nearly a year ago and I read your fabulous book when I was on my summer holiday last year.

So it feels like this has been a long time in the making and it's exciting to have you here with me today. But I thought it would be great to start our chat together by asking you if you can share your story behind setting up your business, which is called terptree.

Victoria Williams:

Awesome. Thank you. It is one of those stories, you know, you get some businesses that have this real pivotal moment that is that sort of passion moment that you think, yeah, this is what I was made to do.

I was always as a child, really slightly obsessive languages, and I am slightly obsessive languages, still spoken languages as well. But, um, when I was younger, uh, 13, my cousin was born profoundly deaf. Now, he wasn't diagnosed as deaf immediately. It took quite a long time to diagnose him. The systems back there were very different.

You'd have a health visitor coming into a room and banging something. Max, as a deaf child, was very visually acutely aware of what was going on and he would watch the health visitor behind him and then they'd be like, he's hearing and we would be like, he's definitely not because he doesn't respond when my aunt called him the dog would bark loudly.

He wouldn't turn around. She'd be like, that's not right. So eventually when he was diagnosed as profoundly deaf, we as a family started to learn sign language, which was incredibly Just amazing, because I was already learning spoken languages at school, loved them, and this was another language to learn, which I really enjoyed.

Um, and I spent a considerable amount of time in my childhood staying with the family anyway, so I would learn sign language with Max alongside him during the summer holidays every year, which was fantastic, because I got to grow up with him. So that all sort of amalgamated in my love for languages and just continued that.

So I continued sign language through my other spoken language learning through school as well. So just continue that learning, study exams. And then I decided to go to uni to become a German spoken language interpreter. And it was my first year at uni. I failed one of my sign language exams and I just sat there and thought.

Oh, I'm going to have to make a choice. I thought I could do them at the same time, but that was very naive of me. So I had to make a choice. So I left uni and pursued my career in sign language. I was deciding that I wanted to become a sign language interpreter. So I sort of left there, done that, trained in sign language and managed to get a job at the British Deaf Association where I worked in a deaf team.

So I was here 19 years old, turning up. working in a deaf team for the first time, um, having grown up around sign language, but this was a very, very different experience for me and continued my sign language training through there. Worked for lots of deaf charities, worked in mental health for deaf people, then continued my training to become an interpreter, became an interpreter, and then 17 years ago, set up terptree.

So I've had, my whole career has been in the deaf community, um, and I've been privileged enough to have seen, this sort of environment in different domains of, as I said, health, mental health, in the workplace, in politics, in every setting you can imagine, you know, I've interpreted things like flower shows, raves, literally everything you can imagine I've done.

I've been to Lapland interpreting, so I've interpreted for Santa officially. So I've done all sorts of really cool things, but I got to the point in my career as an interpreter where I kept seeing these problems happening when I was in the rooms with people. So I'd be interpreting a meeting between a team and I could see there was a lack of empowerment for the deaf employee going on and a proper sort of imbalance of power, imbalance of just engagement and authority and all of those things.

And I thought. This just isn't right. But as an interpreter, you're there to be impartial. So you're not there to give your opinion or to share anything. So I would never have done that, but I just kept on getting that niggly feeling. So I set the business up and decided that as a business, I'd be able to have more power to share my knowledge and insights of my experiences in all of these domains with both,

you know, deaf people and hearing people. So we basically work with large organizations and help them revamp both their deaf customer and their deaf employee experience. So large global businesses and UK based businesses, and we also provide sign language interacting services. So yeah, 17 years old, and I still love it as much as the day that I decided that we would, um, set up.

And we're privileged because we work with companies like British Airways, The Entertainer, Legal and General. And we choose to do that because we know that those companies are serving lots of people, whether that be lots of employees or lots of customers. So we know that going to those large companies, we can have that biggest, the bigger, bigger impact really.

Fay Wallis:

Well, I know that we're going to have lots of people listening from big and small companies today. And I'd just love to reassure anyone who's listening thinking, Oh no, but I work for a really small company. How is this interview going to be helpful for me? That having read your book and knowing a lot of the advice and the information you share in there, that it is applicable no matter what size organisation you're working for, isn't it?

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, absolutely. I think, I mean, what I tried to do in the book is make it as simple as possible for people, um, and recommend sort of lots of small, what I like to sort of target them as like 1 percent changes. So I think any company that I speak to gets really concerned about this cause they go, well, we don't do anything.

And I'm like, that's okay. It doesn't matter that you don't do anything. Yeah. We, yes, there's this all singing, all dancing model that all of us would like to get to, but I think that's true of anything in life, whether it's our health, our tidiness of our home, we've got these, you know, this would be what it would look like if it was perfect.

And we can work towards that, but we don't jump to the end goal at the end. We have to work towards that in sort of small, tangible steps. So for small businesses, even things like looking at their website content and making sure that it's written in plain English. So it's written in a way that is easy to access, easy to understand using clear headers, clear bullet points, things like that is really good.

Making sure that on your contact options on your website, for example, you've got your email addresses, not just your telephone numbers. So it's, it's a lot of the suggestions in the book. I would, I would say definitely can be applicable to businesses of any size. Um, and those small changes are the ones that actually make the difference.

Fay Wallis:

I should probably mention what the title of your book is for anyone, for anyone who's listening and thinking, Oh, I need to go away and read this. So the book is called Don't Silence Your Talent, Unleash the Value of Your Deaf Employees. And it's through that, that I knew your origin story and what your background is because you share it and there are even photos in there of you with your cousin and photos of you doing your various roles throughout the years which is really lovely to read it really helps bring the book to life and it means that it's not a dry read at all it's engaging and like you said there are lots of practical tips in there.

The overwhelming sense that I had when I read your book was that it made me realize how little I actually knew and how little I understood of what the challenges are that so many people who are deaf face when they are thinking of either applying for a role or are working alongside colleagues in an organization.

And I'm guessing that you probably find a really similar reaction from other people too, when they've either read your book or they've met you or they've been through some of your training. So it's really hard for me to figure out, gosh, what are the best questions for me to ask you about this? Because I felt like I'm literally learning from a point of ground zero.

I just hadn't realized I've got this much of a lack of awareness. What would you say the biggest misunderstandings or lack of knowledge in this area are? Not just for me, but for, for pretty much everybody who hasn't really immersed themselves in this or looked into this aspect of inclusivity before.

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, I would, I would say there's a lot of them and you're absolutely right. I think what I find really interesting is when we generally sort of give a deaf awareness training presentation or something like that, or have a meeting with someone. Yeah. There is a bit of mild panic that happens, I think, first off, where someone, I think, as you've explained, goes, oh, I didn't really realize, I didn't realize any of this, like a lot of it's new.

I think that comes from the fact that deafness is one of the hidden disabilities, ie you can't always see that someone is deaf or has a hearing loss. So oftentimes, stuff can be happening. And you don't even know that that's happening because someone has a hearing loss. It could be in addition to the fact that person may not even know they have a hearing loss, because what we need to remember is hearing loss doesn't just happen.

So if you've got someone who's applied for a role in an organization, yes, they could have a hearing loss already and be applying and have a hearing loss, but actually hearing loss can be acquired over time as well. So, um, and that can happen incrementally, so it doesn't, you know, there is this thing where sometimes people do wake up and they lose their hearing overnight.

That is real. It's not a myth. But that's obviously not en masse. So you will find people in your organizations that, as I said, will start being hearing and then they will acquire hearing loss over time. And that can show up in all sorts of ways. You could find your employee much less engaged with their work, much less engaged with the team, withdrawing because they're missing stuff.

And they're thinking, well, I don't know why I'm missing stuff. And the challenge is as humans, we start to think, well, there must be other reasons. You know, Oh, I'm really tired at the moment. Or I've got a lot going on at home or, Oh, it's really cold outside or it's dark. And I just haven't had enough sleep.

All of that stuff. We start. finding reasons and, um, trying to sort of rationalize the reasons that we're missing this information when in fact it could be a hearing loss. So some of the sort of misconceptions are that deaf people, if they're wearing hearing aids can hear everything around them, massive misconception.

Hearing aids, in fact, will amplify every sound around. So if you were sitting in a team meeting environment, for example, and you're listening into the meeting through using hearing aids, any tiny movement or, or sort of sound, if that's a chair scraping on the ground or someone shuffling their papers, or in fact, someone going past in the corridor and having a conversation, the hearing aids are going to pick up and amplify every single sound in that environment.

So therefore, Yes, there's attunement to the voice, which is going to be the loudest sound. And if the room is acoustically well set up, like it's, you know, it's, it's soundproofed and everything in best listening conditions, great, but very difficult in any other situations. So this obviously causes deaf people an issue if they're working in open plan offices where things are being discussed, because there's not the ability to tune into those conversations, which

means that a lot of information is missed. If you think about, I mean, I've worked in open plan offices before, where I've sat there and I can hear all the conversations going on around me. And if I choose to listen to this one, I'm going to learn about this. If I choose to listen to this one, I'm going to learn about this.

The same happens if I sit on a train, the same, in so many environments, we are incidentally learning and not even realizing we are. But for deaf employees, they miss a lot of information through not being able to access that stuff that just happens naturally around. So oftentimes deaf people can be seen to be underperforming.

And I'm putting, I'm putting little speech bubbles up when I say that it's, and it's not underperformance, it's actually just missing information and therefore not being able to, to, to respond to that. The other misconception, certainly when it comes to sign language users, is that bringing in an interpreter is enough.

So we'll just put an interpreter in the room, then we've done it. We've ticked the box, we've done it. Um, and that person has access, but yes, that person has access in that meeting. But then what happens holistically around their work environment when they don't have the interpreter there? So yes, in the team meeting that's facilitated, but elsewhere, it's those considerations.

The one that we get from employers a lot is, um, I would know if I had deaf employees. It's like, you probably wouldn't actually, because in terms of hearing aid wearers, there are 2 million people in the UK who wear hearing aids, but actually there are 6. 7 million people who would benefit from wearing them.

So you've got a huge discrepancy in numbers in terms of those people that could benefit from wearing hearing aids. So that's the only really visual indicator, unless someone's a sign language user. And also, as I said, you've got those people who may have a hearing loss, choose not to disclose that to their employer, because they think that might cause them an issue in their career, or people that have acquired a hearing loss and don't really know that that's happening for them.

So it's a minefield when you've got hidden disabilities, something that you can't see, something that's not tangible. It's really difficult to sort of assess the impact of that, both from the employer point of view. And the employee point of view, but I think the book for me is about trying to put the things in place so that you're making it much easier for all of that to be naturally facilitated.

So you're not having to think about, Oh, that person has to tell their employer that because the workplace is number one already set up in an inclusive way. And then the, the culture of the workplace is so much so that the employee feels comfort in knowing that. Yeah, okay. I can tell my employer that because it's not going to impact my job.

They want, they're looking for, you know, diverse talent in their workforce, therefore I fit within that remit. So I think it's, it's that setting up to win part, which is all the one percenters and yeah, empowering employees to not feel concerned about disclosure. Disclosure is a really big deal for people.

Yeah. So there's, there's so many misconceptions. I mean, as you said, I could, I could talk all day about all the misconceptions that I've experienced and I hear about.

Fay Wallis:

I think it's really helpful to hear those key ones. And they're things that I certainly wasn't aware of. So I'm sure that lots of other people, won't be aware of it either.

So thank you for talking us through it. And then you talked about the fact that there's a two prong approach. You have the. making the culture the right one, one where people feel that they can speak up, but then also actually creating that inclusive environment, being really proactive about it. Would you be able to talk us through what some practical things are that we could be doing then?

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, so I think what was interesting for me in the process of writing a book is that sort of consolidated my, my understanding of what the challenges are that deaf people face and also enable me to put them into groups. So, What I found is that they fall into three main categories, really one being environment, two communication and three team integration.

So in terms of, so I can give some examples about sort of things that can be changed in environments and, and also with communication team integration that can create inclusive working environments. So. When it comes to the environment, it's, it's sort of what I find the most important thing is talking to deaf employees.

I think employers get really concerned about thinking that they have to have all of the answers. Now, employees are very happy to share their experiences, if that's going to mean that the adjustments are put into place for them to have an inclusive work environment. And often with deaf people, They would rather be asked what their opinions are and be engaged with so that the particular adjustments can be set up for them.

Every deaf person is different. So an adjustment that you make for one deaf employee is not going to be the same one for another deaf employee. So I think setting the environment up is really important. But in addition to that, speak to the individuals, because if you've got an individual working in an open plan office versus someone going out on site visits, their adjustments are going to be completely different.

You can also engage with internal employee focus groups. Um, so if you're a larger organization, you've got the opportunity to do that, to speak to other employee groups and find out what adjustments could be made. There are things like the access to work scheme that very few people know about, which actually is a scheme that's government funded.

So the employee, any disabled employee would be assessed externally by someone. And they would be given a pot of funding based on what their needs are. So for me, for example, I have arthritis in my fingers. So I have been given funding to pay for dictation software so that I don't have to type excessively, which obviously is painful for me, but also could worsen my health conditions.

So, um, arthritis is a disability that falls under, under the sort of remit of the access to work scheme. So it's a really easy process. If you just Google apply for access to work, you'd find information about that. I think that that's so applicable to so many people out there who have disabilities that they wouldn't consider as a disability.

As I said, arthritis being a health condition, you wouldn't consider it potentially like that. And also neurodiversity as well is considered under that. Um, and there are many adjustments that can be given in terms of funded sort of adjustments from the access to work scheme. So things like that are things that people just go, wow, I never realized that.

And many deaf people don't know about access to work. And we're the first people that tell them. in their 50s, in their career. And you just think, wow, they've gone through their whole career and not had any funding to do that. And the employer doesn't really know what they're doing either. So that can really help the employer to want to employ deaf people, because I think there's always the concern about, well, this is going to cost me a lot of money.

What do I do? What, what adjustments do I put in place? So having a scheme in place that, can support the employer in their understanding and also help with some of the funding can really make a difference. And I think it's, it's, as I said, with the deaf employee assessing the working environment, working with them to understand their working environment, how it works best for them.

Obviously, there's, there's things to consider like health and safety, making sure that fire alarm systems are put in place. If you, if you've got a fire alarm system, it should be a, have a vibrating function so that you've got maybe a pager that the deaf employee would wear along around the building, and then that would vibrate if the fire alarm went off, or you can have this flashing light system.

So there's all this sort of health and health and safety considerations too, but Again, I think people get really concerned about the detail and my view is you've got, there's lots of experts out there, including us, including people, you know, who are assessing for access to work. The deaf employee themselves is an expert in their own needs through their lived experience.

So I think it's about the not panicking, quite frankly, and just working that through with the, with the employee. In terms of communication, as I said, people deaf people miss out on a lot of information due to that lack of incidental learning. That's one of the biggest challenges and deaf people often feel like they're the last to know, which leads to isolation, withdrawing from the workplace and things.

Disability disclosure is important as we talked about, because if someone discloses the disability, therefore you can put the adjustments in place. What I always recommend with disability disclosure is it's a moving thing. So, as I said, hearing loss can be acquired at any point in life. So if we, if we're only asking a job interview, if someone has a disability, we're going to miss that through the, through their working life.

So I think just constant checking in with employees in general, is there anything we can do? Are there any challenges you're having that I can help with? If you're being open and you're building trust and empathy with your employees, they're more likely to share information that they might be internally at the back of their head going, Oh, I just don't know if I should share that.

Is that going to cause a problem? What are they going to think of me? Are they going to think I can't do my job anymore? Are they, people get so consumed by that, but I think if, if there's that rapport, they're more likely to disclose something that they might feel is concerning them. And that leads to sort of things like team integration, understanding work environments.

The social side of work is as important as the work stuff, and often deaf people won't attend any of the social side. stuff. So if there's, if, you know, as a team, you go out for birthday drinks, for example, or you have lunch every Friday at the pub, anything like that, deaf people generally will pull back from that because you're going to a noisy environment.

It's going to be hard to engage. You don't, you can't pick up on the whole conversation. So making sure that you're aware of that and thinking about the social side, how that's going to be facilitated so that that deaf team member can be included. So if it's a BSL user, for example, um, As a previous interpreter, as an interpreter, I've been on many lunches where I've interpreted over lunch for the deaf employee.

with their hearing peers. So they've been involved in that. So there are always ways to make that happen comfortably so that the deaf person's completely involved. Deaf awareness training is a must that helps teams really understand how a deaf person communicates. I mean, as I said, the book for me, it was more about it being practical than anything else.

I wasn't keen on just writing a book that was very theory based. I wanted to write a book that had practical things that people could literally pick the book up and go, Oh, that's great. Okay, I can do that. I can do that. I can do that. And as I said, all of these 1 percent gains being built into this, you know, creating a deaf inclusive workplace.

Fay Wallis:

It's so interesting hearing you share all of that advice. And when you were talking about consulting with the person and asking them what's going to be helpful for them, that's a message that keeps coming through loud and clear whenever we've had any guests on the show to talk about inclusivity. It's particularly reminding me of, I did a short series of episodes around neurodiversity.

And as you mentioned, when you were talking about access to work, access to work came up then as being an incredibly helpful resource for people and that they don't necessarily realize it's there. So it's great to hear access to work being mentioned again. As we were talking, I've realized a lot of what we've been focusing on is for when someone is actually

in the workplace. Can I ask you a little bit about trying to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible when it comes to attracting deaf people to apply to work at your organization? I remember I stumbled across a website last year, well when I say stumbled across, I was approached by an organization about potentially doing some work for them and I was blown away when I looked at their website.

So they have the disability confident employer badge on their website. And all of their videos on there had the person talking and subtitles but they also had someone signing what was being discussed. And I'm sure there were a whole host of other ways that they were being as welcoming and accessible and as inclusive as they possibly could to people with all disabilities, including people who were deaf. So it would be, again, just amazing to hear your thoughts on how, as organizations, people can be

being as inclusive and welcoming as possible.

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, I think, I think those are really good ways. I think definitely the Disability Confident Scheme is a great scheme because it, it basically allows an organization to assess and look at all the ways that they're doing things to make sure that they're upskilling and, you know, making things as inclusive as they can be.

Definitely, if you've got any videos, all of them should be captioned without, without a doubt. Please don't rely on YouTube captioning anyone listening to this because it's not great.

It's not expensive. There are companies like Rev. com, REV. com that are like 1 dollar something a minute. You can literally send them your clip and it will embed the captions on your clip for you so you don't even have to deal with any of the video editing and then they'll send it back as a rendered file with the captions on.

So definitely as a minimum put captions on everything because what you've got to remember is it's not just deaf people that will be looking at the captions, probably people with dyslexia will also watch the captions and be listening as well.

was approved by government in:

And it won't, it would not surprise me if we soon get to a point whereby, That act gets sort of reviewed and elongated and looks more at private companies, not just public bodies.

That will be in no doubt where that's going based on current trends across the globe as well. So prep and get it, get that done. But I think also things like putting things like we want a diverse team. We are looking for diversity in our workforce. And we want people who are going to reflect our customers.

Because, you know, I think that's the thing when people are looking for roles. They're looking for those signs of belonging. Like, will I belonging in that organization? Am I going to feel like, you know, I'm the only deaf person here, or am I going to feel included and you don't have to say, yes, we have deaf people working here, I'm not suggesting that, but saying that you want a diverse workforce that already says to me, okay, I'm very different from others, therefore.

you're looking for me because I am different from others. You're looking for that in me. So I think all of those sorts of small things, making sure that you're promoting it on job boards where deaf people go. There are lots of online job boards where deaf people look for jobs. So you could, you could literally put your job ads in those places to actually seek diverse talent specifically.

Yeah. I think there are lots of different things you can do. And it is, but it's that whole positioning piece of, you know, That's what we're looking for. You could even use, I've seen organizations now that are capturing sort of internal videos of current staff members, current team members who are deaf and have a range of disabilities talking about their experience working for those organizations.

So using case studies, internal employee case studies alongside the recruitment process can also be very powerful because you're then able to showcase diverse talent. So you're not just tokenistically saying it, you're, you're actually showcasing that we're not just saying it, we do have it already and we want more of it.

So.

Fay Wallis:

I feel like I'm probably putting you on the spot now, but when you were talking about there being specific job boards, are there any that you'd be happy to mention? Because I can make sure that I put links to everything that you're kindly sharing with us today. I'll put links to everything in the podcast show notes so that for anyone who really wants to go away and do their research or access the resources you're talking about, they can easily do that.

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, there's things like, um, there's lots of sort of online groups like Deaf UK Jobs and stuff like that, where Jobs, jobs specifically where people are looking for deaf people are, there's lots of, um, groups on LinkedIn as well, where you could post things. There are, there's lots of, there's lots of places, but I can share with you absolutely to put in the show notes, the specific links of those places to go, and I think what, I mean, what we're finding when we're talking to organizations these days is they are actually more, I think we used to be at the point where people were looking to sort of make sure the reasonable adjustments are made and make sure that.

Things are made inclusive and accessible, but actually now I'm seeing organizations going, no, we actively want diverse talent. Where do we find the diverse talent? So I think they're finally realizing the benefits of having a diverse workforce, um, and they're actively seeking it.

So there's been a real shift, I think, in focus there as well, which is fantastic.

Fay Wallis:

Well, that would be great. Thank you so much. If you can share those links with me, and then I will make sure that they're there for everybody. And for anyone listening who isn't subscribed to receive my HR Coffee Time emails, I try and send out an email every single week.

So I'll make sure that I Email out those links as well, as well as a link to this recording. If you're not signed up, if you go to the show notes, you can easily join the newsletter or just hop onto my website, which is brightskycareercoaching. co. uk. And you'll see that there are lots of places on there that you can access it.

And now we are reaching the end of our time together today. Victoria, before I say goodbye, for anyone listening who would love to learn more about your work or get in touch with you, what is the best way of them doing that?

Victoria Williams:

Awesome. So, um, our website has a ton of resources on a learning center, lots of articles and things. So our website is always a good place to go. And the sort of platform that I'm most on is probably LinkedIn. And that's in life in general, by the way, I spend way more time on LinkedIn than I do any other application.

On my phone. So, yeah. So if anyone wants to ask any particular questions, I am on LinkedIn. You can message me and it is me that receives my messages and it's me that responds to my messages. So yeah, message me on LinkedIn and chat to me on there. That'd be great. Or follow me on LinkedIn and you'll get access to all of the stuff we post as well.

Fay Wallis:

And do you want to remind everyone what the name of your company is so they can find it if they're looking for your website?

Victoria Williams:

Yeah, absolutely. We are terptree, which is T E R P T R E E, which comes from terp being a short word for interpreter and tree just because I love trees. Slightly random, but it's true.

And it's all lowercase, randomly, because I just think that looks better. So yeah, terptree that's us.

Fay Wallis:

Brilliant. Well, thank you so much, Victoria. It has been fantastic talking to you today.

Victoria Williams:

Thank you for having me. It's been brilliant.

Fay Wallis:

That brings us to the end of this episode. I really hope you enjoyed hearing from Victoria.

She and I would love to know if you decide to take any action off the back of listening to the episode. I'll share links to our contact details in the show notes for you, but recently I've noticed that show notes are a bit harder to find than they used to be in some of the podcast apps. So just to let you know, the easiest way of tracking them down is to go to my website, which is called Bright Sky Career Coaching, head over to the HR Coffee Time page, and then you will find this episode on there.

It is episode 126. inclusive workplaces, how to empower and support your deaf colleagues with Victoria Williams. And on the page for that episode, you will find the full show notes there, ready and waiting for you. Finally, before I say goodbye, if you did enjoy the episode and found it helpful, I would be so grateful if you would be happy to rate or review HR Coffee Time in whichever podcasting app you're listening to it in, because ratings and reviews make such a big difference in helping HR Coffee Time reach more listeners and have an even bigger impact.

Thank you so much. Take care. And I'm looking forward to being back again soon with the next HR Coffee Time episode for you.