As part of National Inclusion Week, we're showcasing our commitment to inclusion with a different blog piece each day. Today, our Involvement Co-ordinator Steve Edwards tells us about the RBH Employee Support Group.
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that primarily affects the way people learn. It often runs in families and stems from a difficulty in processing the sounds in words. 10% of the UK population are affected. I’m one of those statistics. I was formally diagnosed of having dyslexia in 2001 at the age of 42. Back in the day, dyslexia wasn’t recognised as a condition. Consequently my school days were filled with frustration and a lack of qualifications. My job aspirations were set low by my low self-esteem. I went back into education in my 30s and enrolled on an adult learning course for basic Maths and English. I then enrolled on other courses which led to graduating with a BA honours degree in 2001. I’ve now realised that with the right understanding and support I can achieve lots of things in my life. Dyslexia isn’t about intelligence it’s about learning things in a slightly different way.
I joined RBH in 2010. I was encouraged and supported to continue to develop personally and professionally. This motivated me to set up an employee support group. I realised that some of my colleagues may be suffering in silence, feeling alone, with bouts of low self-esteem and huge amounts of frustration. Yet with encouragement and (in most cases) small workplace adjustments, we can help tap into a wealth of talent. Not only is this good for our colleagues but it makes good business sense with benefits such as, reduced levels of employee stress, employee turnover and sick leave, improved motivation and loyalty, creativity and problem-solving to name but a few.
Our focus is to support employees who may have a number of frustrations in coping with symptoms of dyslexia, dyspraxia, Irlen Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalopathy or ‘ME,’ chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic back condition. We work in partnership with HR, the Learning and Development Team, IT and the Marketing and Communications Team to remove as many barriers as possible within the workplace to enable colleagues to fulfil their true potential. We’ve achieved this by raising awareness of the above conditions to create a more inclusive working environment; finding practical solutions to make a positive difference. Part of the support is simply talking about your condition with other colleagues helping them to get where you’re coming from.
Talking to each other is the best place to start and so as part of Inclusion Week we’re holding a drop in session for our colleagues to come along. We can offer advice on the steps to take for colleagues who may be struggling with work because of a particular condition, and can help to raise awareness of particular issues that may be affecting our employees.
We’ll also be showcasing some of the practical solutions which RBH employees are already benefiting from – such as having the right chair, and software and applications which help to organise information, improve comprehension of large reports, and take notes – such as Dragon Dictate, Inspirations and Read & Write.