Persons With Disabilities: Our Journey, What We’ve Learned, And Where We’re Going with Laura, Keri, Chloe, And Ray of Syneos Health
How would your workplace change if it embraced true diversity and inclusivity? Strap in for a compelling discussion with Chloe Labetoulle, Keri McDonough, Laura Silvius, and Raymond Huml from Syneos Health. On today’s episode, we explore the transformative power of inclusion and diversity in the workplace. So, we’ll get an insider’s view into the evolution of Syneos Health’s ERG (employee resource group), how it earned its recognition, and the critical role of ERGs and diversity in hiring processes.
We then traverse the complex terrain of employment law with a spotlight on understanding persons with disabilities. Ray and Keri break down the conception of the ERG, and their unique perspectives on defining a person with disabilities. Also, we look into Keri’s personal experience with ADHD and OCD, and the place of neurodiversity in the ERG, provide a raw and enlightening perspective on the workplace landscape for those with disabilities.
As we forge ahead, we delve into the intersecting worlds of disability, mental health, and neurodivity in the workplace. Our guests reveal how ERGs can provide a supportive pillar in challenging times, and we discuss strategies that organizations can adopt to support employees with disabilities. We round off with envisioning the future of the ERG and its potential societal implications. Join us as we hear our guests’ aspirations, their vision for a more inclusive future, and how ERGs can be potent tools to reduce unconscious bias. The journey to creating an equitable work environment is a profound one, come with us on this journey!
Listening Time: 40 minutes
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Syneos Health® (Nasdaq:SYNH) is a leading fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization built to accelerate customer success. We translate unique clinical, medical affairs and commercial insights into outcomes to address modern market realities.
Persons With Disabilities: Our Journey, What We’ve Learned, And Where We’re Going with Laura, Keri, Chloe, And Ray of Syneos Health
William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup, and you are listening to the Recruiting Daily podcast. Today, we have Syneos Health on. And our topic is actually, I’ve been looking forward to this podcast for a long time, because I’ve talked to people about ERGs, a lot of leaders about ERGs, but I’ve never actually talked to people inside of an ERG.
And so our topic is persons with disabilities ERG, our journey, what we’ve learned, where we’re going, and we’ve got a number of guests on, so [00:01:00] we’re going to be able to explore all kinds of good stuff. With Syneos Health, in this particular ERG, and so I’m looking forward to it. So why don’t we do introductions, and then Raymond’s gonna get us into a little of the backstory, etc.
Chloe, why don’t we start with you? Why don’t you introduce yourself? Maybe your role at Cineos Health is probably the easiest.
Chloe Labetoulle: Sure. Thank you, William. So my name is Chloe Labetoulle. I am from France. I have joined Syneos five years ago. I’m a project manager and I have three children. So I have been always sensitive to and passionate about disability, and especially since I’ve been diagnosed with a rare disease in 2019.
William Tincup: Goodness. Okay. We’ll we’ll get back to that in a second. Keri, what about yourself?
Keri McDonough: Hello. Thanks for having us. Keri McDonough, I lead our patient voice consortium here at Zinnia’s Health. I’ve [00:02:00] been here for 10 years and I am a co lead for our people with disabilities ERG and very much thrilled to be a part of working to address the needs and make the organization as.
inclusive and as a place where people feel like they belong whether they have visible or invisible disabilities.
William Tincup: And let’s see,
Raymond Huml: Laura, what about yourself?
Laura Silvius: Hi, thank you for having us again, William. My name is Laura Silvius. I am a senior proposal manager on the regulatory team. Chloe and I actually work on the same team, both in our nine to five jobs.
And on the E r G we are the co-leads of the E R G, and then Ray and Carrie are our executive sponsors. I joined EOS a little under three years ago, and I started getting to work on launching the E R G with Ray and Chloe’s. Support is too small to capture what they did but pretty shortly after I joined.[00:03:00]
Raymond Huml: Awesome.
William Tincup: And Raymond or Ray, as we’ve learned.
Raymond Huml: Hi, William. Yeah, Ray’s fine. Pleasure to be here. I think Laura’s a little humble because she and I really helped co found the person with disabilities ERGs. We’re very proud of that. I’m personally a veterinarian by training. And but I’ve been in the healthcare and biopharmaceutical industries for over 30 years.
I was actually at the beginning of really the CRO industry, which has blossomed out to many different companies. And I think I bring an interesting perspective to the persons with disabilities ERG because I have two kids with a rare disease. And I also head up the Rare Disease Consortium, so it’s a similar model to what Carrie has.
She heads up the patient voice, and I head up the Rare Disease Consortium. And because I have two kids with a rare disease and both have visible disabilities because they use wheelchairs I think it gives me a different perspective, I think on things, and I bring that to the table when we’re trying to craft solutions, not only internally with the ERG, but also for our customers.
William Tincup: I love that. Ray, why don’t you take us into kind of how this got started [00:04:00] and some of the things, just lay some foundation for us.
Raymond Huml: Sure. It’s interesting that DEI, global market, I’ve seen some figures like it’s estimated to be as much as almost, 17 billion by 2027.
So it’s like a huge market. I think it’s really, the way I look at DEI is it’s an attempt to address the countless racial and socioeconomic discrepancies in our workplaces and communities. And, it’s reignited in the pandemic, and I would argue that it’s probably in the wake of events such as George Floyd’s death, and one of the first ERGs we actually had at St.
Leo’s Health was the Black ERG, and because of the Black ERG, they actually had to go through a lot of the initial heavy lifting as far as developing SOPs, And how ERGs were set up at our company. So we actually greatly benefited from that. So when we started up, actually our timeline probably took half as long to get up and running as they did, because we benefited from a lot of the things that they did.
So I tip my hat to them. But I think, many companies like Cineos are making a kind of a concerted effort, I would say, to listen to their teams and strive for, more diverse demographics and try to get to real [00:05:00] inclusion and belonging, what our CEO calls a total self culture.
We’ve been recognized for it, so we’re actually pretty proud of this. We got a, 2022, and then earlier this year, we were actually voted by America’s Best Employers for Diversity, so we take a little pride in that as well.
William Tincup: What’s great about that from the candidate’s perspective on the front end of recruiting is a lot of the half the millennials, if not all millennials in Gen Z, they care.
They actually care. Some of the first questions they ask the recruiters are, about ERGs. About, what are you doing? What is, what type of annual reports do you have around diversity, et cetera? So it’s it’s one of those things, like a lot of things, if we don’t adapt to the, our audience, or in this case, candidates and employees.
We’re going to lose them. Yeah, I
Raymond Huml: couldn’t agree more. I was just going to say, one of the things that’s interesting that I liked about CINEOS is they were asking a lot of the executive sponsors to come up with a leadership purpose. And mine that you’ll see if you get an email from [00:06:00] me that I put underneath my name is it says it’s to increase awareness.
of how it feels to face mobility and other health related challenges and advance inclusivity for all at Sineos Health. So that’s really kind of part of my leadership purpose. I have other leadership purposes, but that’s one of them that’s pertinent for today’s conversation.
William Tincup: So one of the things I’ve always been fascinated by with ERGs and SIGs on a different, in a different way is the information that’s, that happens inside the ERG.
You’re learning about things. You’re trying to figure out, okay, programmatically, what can we do? Budget wise, what can we do? How do we get, y’all have great executive sponsors. How do we get them motivated, et cetera, et cetera. But I’ve always been fascinated with how do you communicate to the people that aren’t on the ERG?
You all have a large company, right? So you’ve got employees, you’ve got alumni, and you’ve got candidates. So those, there’s three different groups of people. So how do obviously you meet, you talk, you create, you plan, whatever the bid is, but how do you get it out to the much larger audience of your [00:07:00] company?
of what you’re, of what you’re learning or what needs to be done next, et cetera. And so we’ll just, there’s no right or answer. Why don’t we start with Laura? What’s your take on that?
Laura Silvius: I actually was hoping to be able to address this because I think that one of the most important things with these kinds of initiatives is to have support at the upper levels of the company, and we definitely have that.
We went through, for example, a leadership change last year in the company, and the first thing that the new leaders did, the new CEO and COO did, was send an email out to the ERG executive sponsors and to the ERG leaders just, confirming their support, letting them know that they were behind us 110%.
And part of what was really great about the timing of this is that we had a rather Unorthodox events planned for May of last year, and Ray and I had been on the phone the night before trying to figure out how we were going to pay for it. It wasn’t a huge amount, it was about 2, 000 that we needed, and [00:08:00] we were talking about, dipping into our savings to cover the expenses.
And when I got that email from the COO, I just wrote him back. And I said, thank you so much for this and for your support, by the way, 2, 000 and he made it happen. And we ended up having this fantastic event that it was basically to the overall objective was to sort of pressure test our built environments in the offices to look at how accessible they were to people with.
ambulatory and mobility challenges specifically. But we took away so many more lessons from that. We ended up tailoring the event to particular regions that maybe didn’t have employees that faced that challenge. And so we, we made it more about learning and inclusivity. And we just tailored it so much all over the world.
I think we had 11 offices in eight different countries and almost. over 800 people who participated. Our ERG at the time had about 200 people in it. So that we, and part of how we got the word out was through the support [00:09:00] of our DEI council and our diversity department in particular, which has a dedicated communications person.
And so anytime we have an event like that, Or we have a panel that’s going on. We are able to disseminate information with a lot of support. And then not only that, but we share it with the other ERG leads as well. The other ERGs then share it with their members. And we end up getting a lot of support and a lot of people interested in our events and in our panels.
William Tincup: What I love about that story, Laura, is it’s easy to say that you’re for something. In the case of your CEO, new CEO and COO, it’s Hey, we’re for this. It’s another to put budget. Time, money, and energy behind it, and I love the fact that you just. Right away, just hey, let’s see where we’re at.
And and also had a great event. They responded great, which is what you want, but the, you also had a great event. Anybody else care to comment on communicating to the rest of the Seniors Health Organization? [00:10:00]
Raymond Huml: Yeah, just a quick thing, William. I think one thing that’s important is that that sometimes is lost is that the ERGs are also a place where we can get leadership opportunities for people.
So sometimes in the company where they might not otherwise have a leadership opportunity, it’s an opportunity for them to join and take a leadership, whether it be on a certain committee or a co lead or even some other roles. And I think it gives people leadership. And the other thing that we try to do is to try to work with the other ERGs.
Just for example, we had, we recently gave a talk on post traumatic stress disorder and tried to work with the veterans ERG as well because we realized that’s something that afflicts both of our ERGs. And I’ve even worked with Black ERG for things because I used to work in Peace Corps and I’ve seen some socioeconomic disparities, not just in the U.
S., but ex U. S. And and even working with our developing professionals and some of the other ones. So I think one of the things is that we can cross pollinate and learn from each other because we really are all trying to do some of raise awareness and have education. And I think a lot of our goals, while we may seem disparate in the fact that we’re all different we actually have [00:11:00] a lot of commonalities.
Laura Silvius: Carrie and I were actually panelists on that P T S D talk and we, I learned so much I learned from her. I learned from our other panelist who was a neuro neurologist, a, a doctor, a medical practitioner in neurology and I just learned so much from that and shared my own experiences of being diagnosed with P T S D and it was a great event I thought.
Keri McDonough: Yeah, just picking up on that I also think that through these types of events, we are able to show that we are creating a safe environment and a safe community where people can, raise their hands and participate in a people with disabilities ERG and not feel too I think that just going back to your question about how people learn, I’ve also seen a lot of word of mouth, right?
Just by people in our ERG mentioning that they’re involved,[00:12:00] it gets people thinking. And the thing about disabilities, when you look at the broad impact, it’s pretty phenomenal. And, At some point in one’s life, someone will probably, join or, cross over to the kingdom of disability,
William Tincup: Whether they want to or not, yeah,
Keri McDonough: whether they want to or not, or whether they something that they’ve lived with their entire life, or it’s just, potentially temporary, like chemo fog, for example, or, something that sort of came on later in life, perhaps because of an injury, or a late sort of Onset illness, genetic
William Tincup: illness, Chloe, as you’re in France.
So you can represent all of Europe. . I love it when people do that. To me, when you’re like, oh, you’re American. You can tell us all about American. I’m like barely talk to you about what’s going on in Arlington, Texas. But anyhow, Chloe, my. oldest son was in Normandy for two weeks this this summer and [00:13:00] wants to relocate to France.
So fell in love with it. And so give us your perspective from an international point of view.
Chloe Labetoulle: Normandy is a lovely place. Very rainy, but lovely place. So yeah, France is very different from US and from other countries, of course, as well. But we have a law for employment of disabled person so we need to have 6% of employment.
And if we do not reach this quota, then we have to pay for a penalties, which is big. And seeing that we have been working since 21. At the same time as the V E R G was started we also started to work on, on, on local in France local, locally and I am referral on the cap for France as well.
So I’m both working at the. Working acting at the global level at CINEOS, but also at the local level in France in order to increase awareness and [00:14:00] also to recruit more person with disability in order to have This quota but not only, but it is part of of the actions as well. And yeah, seeing that we have a lot of actions locally that developed awareness and providing a lot of support as well on person who has health issues.
And and yeah we, I should say that in France. We are lucky because we have a law for us quite well protected as well. So I wish it could be the same in all of the country, in all of the countries, which is not the case.
William Tincup: So unless anyone has anything further, I wanted to ask you the question of where did you start the definite, like your thesis?
When you first started on the ERG, you start with some type of idea of who again, especially with persons with disabilities, some being invisible, some being visible, et cetera. What, how did you start with identifying who are we serving? Not just outside of the [00:15:00] ERG, but in, within the ERG, who are we actually serving?
Ray I’ll ask you, and Kerry, I’ll ask you from an executive perspective. It’s okay, like I grew up, I was born legally blind. As was my mother, as was my brother. And so I couldn’t see unless I had corrective lenses, et cetera. But when I had cataract surgery in my forties, I almost had perfect vision.
So like you wouldn’t know that. I wouldn’t, when you, if you had met me before forties, I would have had contacts or glasses, but it still wasn’t something like. Again, you wouldn’t know that when I wake up, when I waked up, when I would wake up back then I couldn’t see anything. Like literally, it was like a, take an impressionist painting and make it more of an impressionist painting.
Like it was just colors of stuff, but people, I, A, I didn’t talk about it. B people would never know. So I want to get to like, how did you, how’d you start forming the thesis of who, who is a person with disabilities? [00:16:00] And I wouldn’t say isn’t but more of the is and where you started with your thesis and then maybe even where you’re at with your thesis now Carrie, you want to start or Ray, which either.
Keri McDonough: Yeah Ray, why don’t you start with the origin since you and Laura were at the forefront and then I can pick up maybe with the neurodiversity piece.
Raymond Huml: Yeah, that sounds great. I think, William from my perspective, one thing that I’ve shared with some folks on the CRG and others is that when I was a kid I actually learned the ham radio code, so date myself a little bit because it’s not that popular today, but there was no cell phones or, computers back then.
And my dad told me he wanted me to learn the Morse code so we could work with blind persons. When I first started working with blind people people had sunglasses on, or they had canes, some of them used dogs, they scared me as a kid I, they were different they didn’t look the same as me, and then after a year or two of working with that group and learning Morse code and teaching in the Morse code so they could get online and talk to people in different countries and feel less isolated I didn’t see the blindness anymore.
It completely evaporated from me. Even though it was still there, I just didn’t see that anymore. [00:17:00] And I took that lesson with me for this when I was thinking about for this idea almost at the same time as Laura, which is why we’re like co founders, is that I work in the rare disease space.
95% of people with rare diseases, and there’s over 10, 000 different rare diseases identified, over 95% do not have a disease cure or a modifying therapy for that, so that means most of those people and many of them have progressive diseases, so many of them use wheelchairs some have cognitive deficits, and And it’s a difficult thing.
I’ve seen the mental health toll it takes on people. So I, I started looking deeper into this issue and I realized that only a small percent of visible disabilities, like maybe 25% or so, we’re, it’s pretty easy to see somebody if they’re in a wheelchair and say they have a visible disability, but the invisible disabilities, which actually I think are just as devastating, if not sometimes more devastating than the physical disabilities, is where I really wanted to focus on decreasing the stigma associated with it.
And that was where I had the blossom for this as well, because there’s a lot to be unpacked, and a lot that we can all learn from each other about invisible disabilities. In the U. [00:18:00] S. According to the CDC, I think it’s like one in four persons has a disability. So there’s a lot of people in our families and our loved ones and stuff that are dealing with these things, and it made me realize it’s a bigger issue than what I thought.
Kerry, I’d love to get your take on it, because I know you have a history of not only in mental health, but in other areas as well, and are always championing the patient voice wherever you can.
Keri McDonough: Yeah, sure. So I was thrilled to join the ERG initially, just based on my own experience. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD and OCD.
I’ve been diagnosed with a few things over the years, which is part and parcel with getting into the mental health system, I think, in some ways. But I, personally, when we first, when the world first started talking about neurodiversity, it just really made a lot of sense to me and when we’re thinking about diversity with our ERG along the same, I’d have to go back and look at the timeline, but it was along the same timeframe that Ray and I had the opportunity to Do some work with the rare disease community around [00:19:00] rare disease day, focusing on a mix of, what’s it like to live with visible or invisible conditions.
And I think it just helped us both hone in on the needs there. And then But we started to think about, what do we need to know about neurodiversity? Why does it matter from a workplace perspective? And I think it’s just, there’s a load of different terms that kind of exist to describe what neurodiversity is at the heart of it.
It’s really that, all of our brains work on a spectrum and brain work differently and you know you can’t say every neurodiverse brain is going to work in a certain way like there are there’s like commonalities and then obviously independent individual humans that you know their brain is more than you know any particular condition but it’s it is critical to how you know people see and are seen and how people process the world around them and how some sort of [00:20:00] legacy systems that may have been designed for one concept of a neurotypical brain can be problematic for folks that are you know, in the workplace or trying to get into the workplace.
And so that’s. really where we started with thinking about, okay, what do we, what can we do to support people in our organization today, as well as, downstream, what might we be able to think about to make, our company, even more attractive to a wider range of people.
William Tincup: And Laura your take on this as well, as you were there at the beginning, it’s…
You start with some working definitions or thesis, et cetera and then all of a sudden you start learning new things, right? It’s like peeling an onion. It’s like layers and layers and layers and layers. So what, where did you start and where, what’s, what are some of the newer things that you’ve found yourself being fascinated by?
That, that fit within what y’all want to attach attack with the Eer G?
Laura Silvius: I think that one of the biggest challenges [00:21:00] I’ve had in my life with With both with my own journeys with different conditions and seeing those in my families and my friends is the sense of loneliness that really comes along with it and the stigma that comes along with it.
And I think that was a big part of why I really wanted to start this particular ERG in our company. Our company works with. People in clinical trials and, a lot of different medical conditions qualify as a disability on some level. And so that, I just felt that it really intersected very nicely.
And for the employees themselves, struggling in silence doesn’t help anybody. And so I really wanted to reduce the stigma, create a community. I think we’ve definitely done that. Some of the things that we learned along the way were statistics out of, the WHO and the UN. That basically said that almost everybody will either have a disability or be a caretaker for somebody with a disability in the whole world.
At some point in their [00:22:00] lives. I forget the exact number. It’s something like 97% of people is what I mean, that’s huge. That’s that. That makes this a universal issue. It really does. And the other thing that I really have enjoyed and have enjoyed telling others about are the new definitions that those two agencies have come up with to define disability, which is not the acquisition or the existence of a condition in yourself.
The disability exists when the world prevents you from participating fully in society. That’s where the disability is not your something that you carry. It’s something that exists in the world, in society, in the built environment. And that’s where the impetus needs to be to change.
William Tincup: Love that. Chloe, what about yourself?
Oh, you’re on mute. Sorry.
Chloe Labetoulle: Yeah, sorry. I would say that I would be, I have been [00:23:00] always what did I say, sensitive to this, to disabled person. I have my uncle who is hardly disabled. I have lost one of my nephew as well due to a born disability. In my family, I have different person or so with invisible disability.
And then when I have been diagnosed it was very hard for me. And I was, I used to do a lot of sport and my diagnose said to me that you should not do so much sport. You should, you have to stop. I would, I was in in a very bad position in my head and.
What I start to say, I need to help person in the same situation as mine, and this was for me a way to accept my situation and also to be useful to others, and as Laura said, to create a community is a place where you feel more at your place and more confident [00:24:00] to also open your heart and discuss and share your fears and your wins as well.
Yeah. Yeah, it’s part support group. Yeah, and just to say that we are all different and together we are stronger.
William Tincup: I love it. I love that. Y’all have mentioned in a couple different ways mental health. And so it was on my question list. Anyhow, the kind of the intersection point of the things that you’re tackling with persons with disabilities, you’re touching.
Mental health not all the time, of course but in some ways you’re touching mental health. What have you been pulled to do more for, from an ERG perspective, you’re helping people with disabilities, both at the company and those to come into the company, et cetera. And I Laura, I loved your your phrase.
I actually wrote it as suffering in silence, but you phrased it a different way because a lot of it is. The taboo of raising your hand and saying, yeah, I [00:25:00] have this, especially on the front end. If you’re trying to get a job, the last thing you want to do is talk about accommodations. Yeah.
Raymond Huml: Go ahead.
Laura Silvius: Oh and it’s a pity that we don’t because, we just discovered something I think and Ray will be able to speak to this much more eloquently, but, something like 60% or 50% of accommodations cost nothing and another 30% cost under 200 or 300.
Yeah, it’s so small to be and the strengths that you get from having neurodiverse conditions in the workplace are really incalculable. Disability and this is one of the things I say in almost every presentation that I give within the company, disability is diversity. This is. Another type of diversity, it’s not something that we all necessarily think about, but it is diversity, people with neurodiverse conditions, they think differently, they, they bring different skills to the table, they can make calculations in their head, and not just mathematical, but also, risk [00:26:00] reward calculations, and they can see things that a more neurotypical brain might not.
There’s so much strength, and Ray, I know, can talk about the intersection of physical and mental health differently. A lot of what we’ve tried to do before I throw the ball to Ray is, we really do try to hold at least a couple of panels on mental health every, I’d say every year. It’s probably closer to one every quarter.
And we have worked with the other ERGs, the veterans, the black ERG, the are formerly known as the LGBTQIA ERG, which is now called Definitions Not Applicable. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah, we’ve done that to try to talk about the intersectionality of these things, because they, we all exist in intersections, we all exist in an intersection of gender, of race, of nationality, of disability, of family members, you can be a daughter and a mother at the same time, and those two things both exist within yourself, and [00:27:00] they both bring you together.
Something different and rich to your life and to the people around you. And it’s the same with, with race and gender and disability and orientation and all those other things. Ray, go for it.
Raymond Huml: Laura, you’ve been very eloquent. It’s hard to improve on that, but I, it reminds me of what my dad used to say that, each person is comprised of body, mind, and spirit.
We’re more than just one thing. And I think part of the thing, too, William, that I think is important about the ERGs, and ours in particular, is encouraging others. We’ve seen some people face some pretty challenging things. It’s heartbreaking to watch my kids go through a progressive neuromuscular disease, but I think we encourage each other and we provide hope, and I think those are two of the things that we bring from an ERG perspective, because we do see changes.
From our Mobility Awareness Day, we had over 500 persons attend, and it led to facility changes that, that cost nothing for the company, and led to some big changes and some people feeling really good about things. We are, our company I know has purchased some things for visually and auditory impaired people.
And we’ve all learned about [00:28:00] more about that, and are very appreciative of that, and I had no idea that we even had some of those tools, so it’s also about making yourself aware. And I think as we make ourselves aware and we encourage each other, I think it encourages the other ERGs encourage me, and we try to encourage the other ones as well, too.
And it just I think that education is one of the biggest things that we need to do because, I’ll be honest with you, we can throw a lot of facts and figures and infographics, but I can tell you the thing that I think people remember us each most for is for our own individual personal stories of what each one of us went through, how we encountered an obstacle, and how we overcame it, and if we can save one person some of the heartache or some of the grief that we’ve had to have, either whether it be getting a job, or whether how to interview or how to ask for an accommodation or how to do something and we can make it easier for them Then we’re going to make it a more welcoming place.
And you know in today’s society, it’s difficult Anybody who’s gone to a restaurant will understand that it’s difficult to get resources sometimes and we believe that by targeting the [00:29:00] disability community that we can actually enrich our own company and also will be good for the bottom line.
William Tincup: It’s interesting. I just got back from a National Jamboree, a Boy Scout National Jamboree, and they had a section that was it was persons with disabilities, but it’s not what we would think of. It’s not, it’s actually, it was taking the scouts through what other people go through. And it was, my, both my sons went through it.
It’s they had to do certain things in a wheelchair. Then they had to do certain things with low hearing some of the basic stuff, but it was fascinating to see scouts, see these boys and girls go through this and learn. By having, by, by being placed in the situation and again, it’s temporary, so it’s different, but it was also quite fascinating to see them come out of that with their eyes wide open oh, I had no idea that would happen.
That, that was that difficult, like using a wheelchair, they had all kinds of different things. Like you had to use a wheelchair in this whole kind of setup. And it was difficult and [00:30:00] you, and so it was good for learning and again, great for companies to do that. Anybody else want to talk about the kind of intersectionality of mental health?
Keri McDonough: Yeah, I can just type in a little bit. I think it’s, I think the reality is that, mental health is something that everybody, works on in some way, shape, or form, or has some level of Connectivity to, I think, that there are real world circumstances that can increase somebody’s, potential for having dealing with mental health on a chronic or severe or even crisis type when we think about, disability, it’s, it’s not like a perfect one on one equation, but there is a high level of overlap.
And then when we think about, neurodiversity and who are we actually talking about when we’re talking about, a neurodiverse community, I think it’s important to think about when we’re historically [00:31:00] what’s now considered autism spectrum disorder, and even ADHD have always been lumped into that bucket.
And things like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, things that do change, how you’re. I think what someone is thinking at any given point may or may not be considered part of a Neuro diversity spaceman, I think in our world and the world that we’re creating we definitely see them, and if somebody identifies that way that’s how they should be addressed.
I think where we get potentially hung up is when we try to a… The neurodiverse, or put the pressure on people that have, are living with neuro neurodiverse brains is that they don’t all have to be superheroes, right? Or they don’t all have to be, what we see in popular culture around think Rain Man, think I don’t know, even thinking about the Elon Musk narrative, there’s certain parts of that neurodiversity piece that, equate to, [00:32:00] oh, everybody must be a genius, or oh, everybody must
be a genius, and it’s not an artist. So it’s about recognizing that, there’s a whole range of perspectives, or like one of my favorite advocates who jumped on the neurodiversity early on is Temple Graydon and she just said pretty simply the world needs all kinds of minds, and I would just change that to the workplace also needs all and so it’s really just a matter of looking at what systems and supports are in place in order to support all kinds of minds.
The one last thing I’ll add to that is just, I think, just giving a nod to I don’t know if you’re familiar with the curb cut effect. Yep. Yeah. The same thing, right? Just universal design principles, irrespective of, what intervention they are, designed to [00:33:00] help a particular community, but then they end up having this broad impact on others sidewalk ramps, support.
People, more than just people using wheelchairs. Closed captioning supports more than deaf or hard of hearing folks. You mentioned earlier in the conversation about just, universal tech, and I think that’s key. How do Can we augment how we expect employees to engage so that it’s more inclusive?
Just the simple thing about, does somebody have to be on screen all the time? If that’s not going to work for, how their mind is working, does it really, matter? I know we’re coming up on time, so I would just say there, for folks out there that are interested in learning more, there are some really great resources out there around, disability.
In the workplace, neurodiversity in the workplace, and it’s definitely a growing area, and it’s a growing area to like point back to what Ray said, because it’s not just a [00:34:00] nice thing to do, but there’s a
William Tincup: It’s a, it’s also a great way to as you’re doing the hard work, it’s a great way to talk to candidates for the recruiting, all the folks in talent acquisition, for them and the hiring managers to talk to people and say, hey, this, If, whether or not this impacts you or not, this is something that’s important to us, all of our ERGs, they’re all very active.
This is what they do, et cetera. So if we do move forward, it, this, there’s a place to volunteer, like Ray said earlier, there’s a place to, to get some leadership experience, et cetera. So I love the. I love it, not just for the employees, of course but I also love the the conversation for candidates in particular.
One last question, and it’s for everybody, and so we’ll just go systematically go through the four of you. If we’re having this conversation in five years, what’s your hope for the ERG? And I’ll [00:35:00] start with Laura. Oh, I knew you were going to
Raymond Huml: call
Laura Silvius: on
Raymond Huml: me first.
Laura Silvius: I think what I’d really love to see happen five years from now, and not just at Sineo’s Health, but I think that I’d love to see the idea of community around disability change and grow stronger and grow more, I don’t want to say united necessarily, but connected, there’s been so much. of how, so much of how society talks about disability, especially mental health, has changed in light of COVID and the Absolute eruption and pervasiveness of depression and loneliness that happened as a result of that. And I think that part of how that starts is, the way most changes in society start, which is talking with young people, and so many young people today have More mental health issues, at least more documented mental health issues than we’ve seen before, they’re more comfortable [00:36:00] talking about it than they’ve been before.
I think there’s still a long way to go on this. I think that part of how we enact change is by making change, by making this a more acceptable topic to discuss and to disclose. Thank you. Our everyday lives. And if we can do that as a society, then it’ll trickle into the workplace.
William Tincup: Love it. Chloe, what about yourself?
Chloe Labetoulle: I would love to see anyone accepting that we are all different and anyone not so feeling very confident to disclose their disability, and just be able to live with the disability as everyone does.
Keri McDonough: Carrie? Fast forward five years, and I’d just like to see that we’re continuing to build this an inclusive culture where people with disabilities, whether they’re visible or invisible, feel like they belong because they do belong.
And over the years, in the [00:37:00] Certainly not with Sineo’s health, in my career, I’ve seen a lot of toxicities and missed opportunities, exclusion, and also, how inclusive environments are more interesting and fun and functional. So future forward, I guess I’d like to see, as an organization, fewer missed opportunities greater recognition of disability as part of the diversity imperative.
Recognition of all the different intersectionalities that Laura pointed to and just, yeah, an overall sense of belonging and strength, as individuals and as a company.
William Tincup: Ray,
Raymond Huml: bring us home. Yeah I, like we talked about the ham radio gig, I’d like to see more people be exposed to that kind of thing, maybe even a potential for mandatory membership from upper management into an ERG so they can get an idea of what it’s like not just on a single day or an affinity day but to have some regular cadence with it.
My dad used to say, you also, you can’t [00:38:00] approve what you don’t measure, so I’d like to see the metrics at our company and other companies increase as more people with disabilities are hired. I personally would love to see in five years everyone joining an ERG. I have I’m a member of multiple ERGs and I always learn something from the other ERGs sometimes to bring back for our ERG and sometimes just for personal betterment or increased Awareness, but I think that’s really important.
And I’d like to see some commitment maybe at some point that the percentage of time is committed to being in the ERG is a worthwhile endeavor. I just think that these ERGs do form our corporate culture. I’m proud of the achievements we’ve had thus far to date but I realize we have more to go.
And I realized that we can’t do it just at our own single company, but we have to do it in our own personal lives, whether it be through Boy Scouts, or churches, or whatever other community efforts that we have it’s something that we have to be intentional about it, because I realized that you can’t passively just become have less unconscious bias, it’s something that has to be intentional, and you have to be around other people, and you have to be willing to be vulnerable sometimes in order to get that that.
[00:39:00] Education back yourself. It’s interesting,
William Tincup: Y’all have, there’s universal acceptance, there’s something that’s carried through the the podcast is that, just more and more acceptance, getting people to understand both candidates, putting things on their LinkedIn profile, accommodations, et cetera, just acceptance.
And also we’ve, Ray, you talked about ERGs and have thought about using ERGs as continuing education. Like a mechanism to learn more about both what’s going on in your own company, but also what’s going on in a greater society. Y’all have been wonderful. So first of all, thank you for carving out time and taking the audience through what you’ve your journey where you’re at and what you’re learning.
And I just appreciate you.
Keri McDonough: Thank you. We appreciate you. And yeah,
Laura Silvius: thank you so much for having us. Sure. Thank you. Really appreciate it. Thank you.
William Tincup: Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening. Until next time. [00:40:00]
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.