International Day of People with Disabilities: Celebrating Differences to Unlock Potential

The United Nations celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) annually on December 3rd. For qualified people with disabilities, IBM provides reasonable workplace accommodations that comply with applicable law and enable employees to remain competitively productive. This approach is based on sound business judgment and anchored in our Values.

by Yves Veulliet

IDPD-Logo-rev.4-300The 2017 theme of the International Day of persons with Disabilities (IDPD) proposed by the United Nations is “Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all”. The UN’s 2030 Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”. Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all.

IBM in many ways continues to drive the leadership agenda and drive inclusion through breaking down barriers for people with disabilities.

In the span of a century, IBM has evolved from a small business that made scales, time clocks and tabulating machines to a globally integrated enterprise with over 300,000 employees and a strong vision for the future. This could not have been achieved without men and women with different abilities, education and cultural background.

There are many articles and publications available that explain at length what companies should do to build their business case for hiring people with disabilities. I am always a little bit uncomfortable when I read such texts. As a matter of fact, including people with disabilities in the workforce requires to put in place the appropriate framework in terms of Workplace Accessibility (including digital accessibility), Reasonable Accommodation provision, and Trainings to make your management and all your employees “disability confident”.

However, when your organization has effectively implemented this framework, do you really need a “business case” to treat people equally? Do you really need a “business case” to treat people fairly?

yves_veulliet_ibmPeople with disabilities are just that – people who have training, education and experience to offer, like anybody else!

Remember: look at the person, not their disability.

Yves Veulliet is IBM’s Global Disability & Inclusion Program Manager, tasked with facilitating the inclusion of employees with different abilities, to improve IBM’s existing programs as well as identifying existing inhibitors to a successful work experience. Yves’ career in IBM started in 1992 and has taken him through various roles, including Diversity Leader of IBM Canada and IBM Europe.


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One thought

  1. Thank you Yves for this statement. It is very important.
    A year ago my manager asked me how somebody should see from my CV that I am disabled. My answer was “Why do you think that this is necessary?”

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