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Natalia Gromadskikh: “There are no problems, only solutions”


Natalia Gromadskikh the director of consulting company in the sphere of strategic PR-communications “PR Institute” agreed to share her experience with employers. During the topical HR-meeting held in the frames of the Accessibility Week – 2015 with representatives of different companies and firms she told about her seeing of the working process and relations in labour collectives where people with disabilities work.

- Do people with disabilities work in your company?

Yes, we have an employee with disability, his name is Alexander and he is a system administrator. His disability is not congenital, it is an acquired one. As the result of his illness he can’t feel his legs and partially hands – he is not able to raise them above the table level. When his illness started to progress he was a student and he realized that he wouldn’t be able to work as a lawyer, the specialty he was getting at that time. But he found a solution of the issue: he taught programming by himself and started to work in this sphere. He also repairs computers, makes websites, works with many companies. He also works in our company and says we are his favorite clients!

But I can’t share any methods of including him into the working process because no one thinks of him as of a disabled person! Alexander is incredibly open, positive, communicable person and the last but not the least – professional.

We employed him when it was the first year I became the director. We were looking for a system administrator, because many of distant working programmers let us down and we had permanent problems with communication. Colleagues advised to hire Alexander. At that time we had a small office and everyone wanted a new employee to work distantly. But he is a part of our team and is always participating in all our corporate events!

- How do you think, what prevents employers from hiring people with disabilities?

Our company is a small one -14 employees and we work in consulting business. And I can only imagine what kind of issues people face at other enterprises especially the ones producing something. But I think that when it concerns issues of persons with disabilities the problem is how we accept them and how we present them to the colleagues. So it means that the issues are in our heads. None of my employees considers Alexander to be “another kind of person” because of his disability.

He is included into all working processes. We communicate on daily basis and when we hold meetings we turn on a webcam. If we have some questions or have issues to solve we go to his place.

- So as I can see the working process is comfortable for all…

We have such an approach: there are no problems we can’t solve.

- How do you think what stimulation mechanisms for employers can improve the situation of disabled people on labour market?

I communicate with many employers and as far as I can see it they always have two main questions. The first one is about economic measures of stimulation of employers who employ people with disabilities. May be some preferences could change the way people think. Because commercial companies, owners and directors care about profit. The second question is about accessibility. How much will it cost? For now I see that employers don’t clearly understand what accessibility is and how they can provide it.